The Honda Endurance Racing team returned to the podium today aboard the all-new Honda Fireblade after finishing the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring in third place.
With progress made throughout all practice and qualifying sessions the team and its riders, Freddy Foray, Julien Da Costa and Sébastien Gimbert, started the eight-hour race quietly confident. The Slovakia Ring is a new circuit added to the FIM EWC calendar and is one that seems to have suited both riders and the 2017 Fireblade.
The race got underway at 1330 local time and it was Foray who started for the Honda squad. With a good start off the line, Foray was within the top-five by the end of the first lap. However, a small mistake in the opening stages saw him drop to 21st place and the battle to get back into the lead group started.
Honda’s endurance specialists pushed on at the 5.922km circuit and teamed with fast pit stops from the super-slick Honda crew, it wasn’t long until Honda Endurance Racing broke back into the top-ten.
By the third pit stop as Gimbert took over from Da Costa, the team were running fourth and all eyes turned to the new Fireblade on track. With consistent lap times and super-quick pit stops, the riders pushed through the extreme track temperatures, masterfully keeping the CBR within the podiums reach.
The closing stages of the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring were a tense affair in the Honda garage, as on track they battled with SERT for second place. But after eight hours of racing, 222 laps spun and approximately 1.315km covered, the Honda Endurance Racing team crossed the line in third place, taking their first podium finish of the 2016-2017 FIM Endurance World Championship.
After today’s result the Honda Endurance Racing team is sitting 11th in the overall championship standings and will now prepare for the final round of the Endurance World Championship; the Suzuka 8 Hours, which takes place on 28-30 July.