There was heartbreak in Germany this evening as the Honda Endurance Racing team was forced to retire from the fourth round of the 2018/2019 FIM Endurance World Championship, the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, with just over one-hour left of the race.

Starting the race from second place, Randy de Puniet, Sébastien Gimbert and Yonny Hernandez were riding strong and it was looking hopeful for Honda’s endurance specialists. Fighting for the podium it was Hernandez aboard the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, but disaster struck when he hit oil on the circuit left by a competitor machine. Unhurt from the fall Hernandez brought the Fireblade back to the pits, where the super-slick Honda crew did an outstanding job to re-build the bike, and send de Puniet out in less than ten minutes of repair time.

Sadly de Puniet came back after one lap, with the safety car still circulating and left the team to discover the frame had broken after the crash, which caused a heartbreaking early retirement.

Honda Endurance Racing holds on to sixth place in the 2018/2019 FIM Endurance World Championship having earned another four points for Qualifying second. The team has now 79 points and will turn its heads to the final round of the season with the Suzuka 8 Hours at the end of July.

Randy de Puniet

Randy de Puniet 111

Well that was a strange race and a lot has happened, so it was a matter of being cautious as the track got worse in the race progress too. We had some small issues with the bike that only occurred for the race and never before, but still we were doing a good race, fighting for the podium and at the sharp end. Then simply bad luck came in and Yonny crashed on the oil of another rider. You can’t do anything about that and it is just unfortunate. The team was mega quick in the pits to repair the Fireblade again and sent us back out, but for me the feeling with the front was strange so I came back in where we found out the frame was broken. We need to focus on Suzuka now, where for sure we will give our all.

Private: Honda Endurance Racing
Yonny Hernandez

Yonny Hernandez 111

What can I say. We are bitterly disappointed as in the end this DNF is not back to ourselves and it was simply bad luck. That is racing for you – especially in endurance. We had some small issues with the bike but we could ride around that and even were fighting for the podium but then I crashed on the oil of another bike that just had gone. I am gutted about that. All I can say is that our team did an amazing job to repair the Fireblade in under ten minutes. We are of course disappointed but have to accept this set back and try to fight at the sharp end at Suzuka again.

Private: Honda Endurance Racing
Sébastien Gimbert

Sébastien Gimbert 111

Well, we are of course disappointed but at the end this result is not down to ourselves because you can not do much about it when you crash on oil of another competitor. So we are left to look at the positives and that is we were fighting for the podium positions and were amongst the quickest in the field. A big hats off has to go to our brilliant team, that re-build a completely destroyed bike in less than ten minutes. Unfortunately the frame was broken so we could not carry on and get some points. The good thing is, that Yonny is not hurt. We are leaving Oschersleben still with our heads held high as we proved to be amongst the sharp end again and we hope to transfer that to Suzuka and a result there. We will give our all there – even though it will not be easy against the Japanese factory teams.

Private: Honda Endurance Racing
Jonny Twelvetrees

Jonny Twelvetrees

Team Manager

Obviously we went down on some oil. It can happen, it is one of those things, it is not a easy one to accept. With a lot of damage to the Fireblade the mechanics did a great job and we had the bike back out in under ten minutes. Randy went out behind the safety car, checked it and something didn’t feel quite right so he came back in. We then sorted that we had a broken frame in parts by the crash so it must have been a big crash, because we've never broken a frame! With a broken frame – that’s it, game over. Thank you to the team and all the riders. We showed we had the pace but we were fighting out and hanging in to the podium but it was not to be this time. We take stock and we have learned a lot of things again this time and we will put that all in place for Suzuka.

Private: Honda Endurance Racing
8 Hours of Oschersleben

Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, Germany

FIM EWC 2018-2019, Round 4

Sunday 9 Jun 2019, 19:39 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Laps
1 F.C.C. TSR Honda France Honda 308
2 Team SRC Kawasaki France Kawasaki + 1 Lap
3 VRD Igol Pierret Experiences Yamaha + 4 Laps
4 Moto Ain Yamaha +5
5 Fany Gastro BMW Motorrad by Mercury Racing BMW +7
6 Wojcik Racing Team Yamaha +7
7 Webike Tati Team Trickstar Kawasaki +7
8 BMRT 3D MACCIO RACING Kawasaki +8
9 Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers Kawasaki +8
10 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki +8
11 No Limits Motor Team Suzuki +9
12 Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto Kawasaki +11
13 GERT56 by GS Yuasa BMW +11
14 Team LRP Poland BMW +12
15 JMA Motos - Action Bike Suzuki +14
16 Motobox Kremer Racing Yamaha +14
17 Junior Team LMS Suzuki Suzuki +15
18 Bolliger Team Switzerland #8 Kawasaki +15
19 ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance BMW +16
20 GSM WRS Racing Team Suzuki +16
21 Honda Endurance Racing Honda
Saturday 8 Jun 2019, 11:18 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Team SRC Kawasaki France Kawasaki 1:26.548
2 Honda Endurance Racing Honda +0.064
3 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki +0.218
4 WEPOL Racing Yamaha +0.298
5 YART Yamaha +0.354
6 F.C.C. TSR Honda France Honda +0.461
7 ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance BMW +0.488
8 VRD Igol Pierret Experiences Yamaha +0.560
9 Wojcik Racing Team Yamaha +1.146
10 GERT56 by GS Yuasa BMW +1.170
11 Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto Kawasaki +1.528
12 3ART - Moto Team 95 Yamaha +1.592
13 No Limits Motor Team Suzuki +1.663
14 Fany Gastro BMW Motorrad by Mercury Racing BMW +1.773
15 Bolliger Team Switzerland #8 Kawasaki +1.778
16 Junior Team LMS Suzuki Suzuki +1.808
17 Moto Ain Yamaha +1.908
18 Wojcik Racing Team 2 Yamaha +2.128
19 Maco Racing Yamaha +2.253
20 Webike Tati Team Trickstar Kawasaki +2.314
Team Standings
Sunday, 9 Jun 2019
# Team Constructor Points
1 Team SRC Kawasaki France Kawasaki 132
2 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki 127
3 F.C.C. TSR Honda Honda 109
4 WEPOL Racing Yamaha 101
5 YART Yamaha 88
6 Honda Endurance Racing Honda 79
7 Bolliger Team Switzerland #8 Kawasaki 73
8 VRD Igol Pierret Experiences Yamaha 53
9 Moto Ain Yamaha 45
10 GERT56 by GS Yuasa BMW 45