The reigning FIM Endurance World Champions, F.C.C. TSR Honda France had a heroic fight-back at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring today. In the third round of the 2018/2019 FIM Endurance World Championship, the trio of Freddy Foray, Mike di Meglio and Josh Hook fought their way back through the field after an early issue to finish the race in third position on the rostrum. The Honda Endurance Racing team with Randy de Puniet, Sébastien Gimbert and Yonny Hernandez equally fought hard for the victory, but suffered under tricky conditions, eventually crossing the line in eighth position.
On the contrary of the past two years of endurance racing at the Slovakia Ring, the 2019 edition was a fairly wet and tricky affair for Honda’s EWC teams. It had started with wet conditions in Qualifying on Thursday, so riders and teams welcomed the sun for today’s race day. But during the last three hours the rain started to fall on and off, and it became a gamble for pit crews and riders to judge what tyre would be best.
The race ended with a heroically fought third place on the podium for F.C.C. TSR Honda France. The team had a small issue in the early stages and whilst entering the pits, di Meglio fell in the pit entry. The quick-acting crew soon fixed the issue and sent the Fireblade back on-track, where the Honda trio soon set about picking off their EWC rivals, working through the field to cross the line in third place.
Honda Endurance Racing suffered heartache whilst fighting for the victory against eventual winners YART. De Puniet, Gimbert and Hernandez proved on track to be the fastest trio of the Endurance Championship, but pushing for victory always means being close to the limit. At first, de Puniet ran out of track and visited the gravel trap, thankfully the Fireblade was not damaged and he was able to carry on to finish his stint.
When the conditions got tricky, it was Hernandez who made the headlines. He had decided for the correct tyres, first losing ground on the opponents of YART but making it all up at the end of his stint into second place.
Towards the end of the race, de Puniet went out on a full slick set-up, but again fell victim to the weather conditions. Losing rear grip, the #111 Fireblade flipped through the gravel and in true endurance style, the Frenchman returned the bike to the pits where the mechanics made a world class job in repairing the CBR1000RR, to send Gimbert out for the final stint. In the end the squad earned another 15 points towards the World Championship finishing eighth.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France holds fifth in the World Championship, after three of five rounds, having collected 79 points. Honda Endurance Racing is in sixth position, just four points behind F.C.C. TSR. Honda France.