The Honda Endurance Racing team has enjoyed strong practice and qualifying sessions aboard the all-new Honda Fireblade at the Slovakia Ring, and will start tomorrow’s eight-hour race from seventh place.

The Honda squad has been working hard with its endurance specialists, Freddy Foray, Julien Da Costa and Sébastien Gimbert, in order to optimise the set-up of the Fireblade for the 5,922km circuit.

The Slovakia Ring is a new event in the FIM Endurance World Championship calendar but this, mixed with high track temperatures, has not stopped the Honda team who have not been outside the top-ten during all practice and qualifying sessions.

The final qualifying session took place this morning and with conditions slightly cooler following overnight rain, Foray, Da Costa and Gimbert finished seventh fastest overall (2:05.897), with the combined times from yesterday’s qualifying, just 1.4 seconds behind pole sitters YART.

The 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring race takes place slightly earlier than originally scheduled tomorrow (Saturday 24 June) at 1330 CEST. To get all the latest updates from the race, follow @HondaRacingCBR on Twitter.

Freddy  Foray

Freddy Foray 111

You know I am happy with how things have been going so far here, for sure it’s not perfect but our race pace is pretty good, so I think it’s a good thing. We have to wait for tomorrow as the temperature will be higher, so the race will be difficult, but we did have high temperatures yesterday so we are a little prepared with the heat. I think if we have no problems and continue to push and progress like we have been then for sure we can finish on the podium, but with racing anything can happen. So we will do the best job we can and hopefully this time, luck will be on our side.

Honda Endurance Racing
Julien Da Costa

Julien Da Costa 111

We have got off to a good start and we are improving with each session when we are on track. We’re also getting better feedback with the CBR, the team is working hard in each session to find a good way to work and I think we have found a new solution to be able to close the gap with the front group. I think the race is looking good for tomorrow, we have good pace and our fastest laps are coming in race conditions, so we are looking forward to tomorrow where we hope we can run with the front group throughout and finish in the top-five for sure.

Honda Endurance Racing
Sébastien Gimbert

Sébastien Gimbert 111

Yesterday I have to admit I was not happy as I lost some time with my laps, but today it seemed easier and I was able to utilise my rear tyre a lot more during qualifying and push a lot more, so the lap time is not so bad. We have a good set-up with the Fireblade for the race, it’s a very good bike, of course you always want more as a rider, but what we have for tomorrow I am confident with. For me the objective is simple, to finish in the top-five, I am confident with all areas from my team-mates and the Honda team, so I am ready to race. The circuit is good and offers a lot with every corner, as there are fast, slow and chicanes, so for me the circuit is perfect.

Honda Endurance Racing
Jonny Twelvetrees

Jonny Twelvetrees

Team Manager

Well so far, it’s going well and to plan here at the Slovakia Ring; we have had a productive practice and qualifying, and we have found a set-up that all three riders are happy with and will be able to push throughout the eight hours. It’s been very hot with high track temperatures, which has made things difficult for the riders, but they have been able to put in good lap times regardless with very good average times, which makes me optimistic for the race tomorrow. It’s a new circuit for everyone, which can make things very interesting for the race, so I’m looking forward to getting started tomorrow and see what the race brings.

Honda Endurance Racing
8 Hours of Slovakia Ring

Slovakia Ring, Slovakia

FIM EWC 2017, Round 4

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