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.

Freddy  Foray

Freddy Foray 111

So today was pretty good! No, today was very good and the whole team needed this result, everyone has been working so hard and today, as you say the hard work paid off. The team did the perfect race with perfect pit stops and I cannot thank them enough. For myself I am happy, the start was good, as I didn’t fall! Then after that it was good, but the feeling you know was difficult with the track temperatures so I had to keep calm and see if I could get the right space to overtake. I made a silly mistake in the early stages, but this is endurance and you do have time to correct, which we did and we finish on the podium, so this is perfect.

Honda Endurance Racing
Julien Da Costa

Julien Da Costa 111

We are really, really happy with the result today. Everyone in the team has done a really good job; we had fast pit stops and a really good pace on track. I cannot believe it really that we are on the podium again, we have wanted this for quite some time and we all knew it was possible we just needed some luck. Thank you to all the team for their hard work and also to my team-mates.

Honda Endurance Racing
Sébastien Gimbert

Sébastien Gimbert 111

I am happy, so happy to be back on the podium, it’s the first time this year for us and it feels good. We had a good race and I have really enjoyed riding the Slovakia Ring, the Fireblade was perfect throughout the race and we were able to push, even in the hot temperatures. Of course now, as a rider I want more for the future and for a win. We have Suzuka coming up next and this for sure has set us up well for the event, thank you to Honda Racing and also to my team-mates, we finally got back to the podium!

Honda Endurance Racing
Jonny Twelvetrees

Jonny Twelvetrees

Team Manager

I’m really, really pleased to be on the podium today with the new SP2, the whole team has worked so hard since we received in January and we came so close to this in Oschersleben, but we didn’t quite make it. Today it feels like the right result for us and I cannot thank all the mechanics and riders enough, everyone did a superb job. Going into the week we knew it was possible and we set our strategy, which worked well and everything was carried out perfectly by the team. We’re looking forward now to Suzuka and the final round and hope we can finish the year on a high.

Honda Endurance Racing
8 Hours of Slovakia Ring

Slovakia Ring, Slovakia

FIM EWC 2017, Round 4

Saturday 24 Jun 2017, 21:31 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap Laps
1 GMT94 - Yamaha Yamaha 08:01:09.914 223
2 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki +1 lap 222
3 Honda Endurance Racing Honda +1 lap 222
4 YART Yamaha Yamaha +1 lap 222
5 Voelpker NRT48 by Schubert-Motors BMW +4 laps 219
6 Yamaha Viltais Experience Yamaha +4 laps 219
7 Team LRP Poland BMW +5 laps 218
8 Bolliger Team Switzerland Kawasaki +5 laps 218
9 Maco Racing Team Yamaha +8 laps 215
10 No Limits Motor Team Suzuki +8 laps 215
Friday 23 Jun 2017, 12:31 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 YART Yamaha Yamaha 2:04.478
2 GMT94 - Yamaha Yamaha +0.428
3 F.C.C TSR Honda Honda +0.785
4 Team LRP Poland BMW +0.889
5 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki +0.989
6 Moto Ain CRT Yamaha +1.231
7 Honda Endurance Racing Honda +1.419
8 EVA RT WEBIKE Trick Star Kawasaki +1.517
9 Maco Racing Team Yamaha +1.533
10 Yamaha Viltais Experience Yamaha +1.603
Thursday 22 Jun 2017, 12:49 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 YART Yamaha Yamaha 2.218
2 F.C.C TSR Honda Honda +0.515
3 GMT94 - Yamaha Yamaha +1.243
4 Team LRP Poland BMW +1.420
5 Bolliger Team Switzerland Kawasaki +1.560
6 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki +1.742
7 Moto Ain CRT Yamaha +1.834
8 Honda Endurance Racing Honda +1.919
9 Yamaha Viltais Experience Yamaha +2.386
10 EKO IVRacing BMW CSEU BMW +2.464
Thursday 22 Jun 2017, 12:39 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 YART Yamaha Yamaha 2:04.478
2 GMT94 - Yamaha Yamaha +1.045
3 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki +1.652
4 F.C.C TSR Honda Honda +1.855
5 EVA RT WEBIKE Trick Star Kawasaki +1.995
6 EKO IVRacing BMW CSEU BMW +2.008
7 Team LRP Poland BMW +2.027
8 Honda Endurance Racing Honda +2.157
9 Maco Racing Team Yamaha +2.205
10 Bolliger Team Switzerland Kawasaki +2.218
Thursday 22 Jun 2017, 12:34 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 YART Yamaha Yamaha 2:04.372
2 Team LRP Poland BMW +0.381
3 F.C.C TSR Honda Honda + 0.583
4 GMT94 - Yamaha Yamaha +0.067
5 EKO IVRacing BMW CSEU BMW +0.223
6 Maco Racing Team Yamaha + 0.143
7 EVA RT WEBIKE Trick Star Kawasaki +0.303
8 Yamaha Viltais Experience Yamaha +0.209
9 Honda Endurance Racing Honda +0.086
10 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki +0.211