The Honda Endurance Racing team will start Sunday’s 39th “Coca-Cola Zero” Suzuka 8 hours from 24th position after today’s two-stage qualifying at Honda’s home track, Suzuka in Japan.

Honda’s trio of endurance specialists pushed hard during the sessions and worked to optimise the settings on the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, ready for the evening’s night practice and tomorrow’s final free practice.

The squad and its riders Freddy Foray, Julien Da Costa and Sébastien Gimbert each took it in turns over two qualifying sessions, where each rider had 20 minutes in both sessions to record the fastest time. Gimbert posted the best lap time for Honda Endurance Racing (2,11.432) and the team will line up in 24th place on the grid for Sunday’s race.

The Suzuka 8 hours takes place this Sunday (31 July) at 11.30 Japanese Standard Time (GMT +9). For all the latest news on the team follow @HondaRacingCBR on Twitter.

Freddy  Foray

Freddy Foray 111

The problem sometimes with racing is you never have enough time and for us here in Suzuka this is the case. We have worked on a few different settings since we arrived, but we haven’t quite found the perfect one yet. We have improved a lot since yesterday’s practice session, but it is a little difficult to accept starting the race from 24th. So now we have to put our focus to the practice we have left and then also for the race on Sunday.

Honda Racing Corporation
Julien Da Costa

Julien Da Costa 111

For sure we are behind a little with our starting position, but that can be racing at times. We have struggled here to find the right setting for us, but we continue to improve our times and hopefully we can work through the practice sessions we have left to really optimise our setting here. We work very hard with the team to find a solution so for the race we can be ready.

Private: Honda Endurance Racing
Sébastien Gimbert

Sébastien Gimbert 111

You know today has been difficult and we have been working on a lot of settings and trying different things for the Fireblade, endurance is not easy at times! The field of riders is very strong as there are about 70 teams taking part in this race. We all pushed hard throughout qualifying but we have to be careful with the tyres as we only have a certain amount allocated in the rules for qualifying and the race. We will work during the two practice sessions that we have and hope that we can find the right setting to push us on in the race.

Private: Honda Endurance Racing
Jonny Twelvetrees

Jonny Twelvetrees

Team Manager

We are a little disappointed to be starting the 8 hours from 24th position; it’s not what we were hoping for when we arrived here. The pain and also beauty of endurance is that in the rules we’re only allowed 20 tyre tickets, which means we can only use 20 tyres for qualifying and for the race. So of course if you go crazy using all your tyres, you will be left with nothing for the race, so you have to choose carefully and only use what you need to. We have been working closely with Dunlop and going through our options, which we can now try out in the two practice sessions we have left, as the allocation doesn’t cover practice. But we have learnt a lot and have a lot of data, so we now need to focus on the race and pushing up through the field, which I know the boys and also the Fireblade are capable of.

Private: Honda Endurance Racing
Suzuka 8 Hours

Suzuka Circuit, Japan

FIM EWC 2016, Round 3

Friday 29 Jul 2016, 10:44 UTC
# Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
2 MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda 2.07.026
3 Team GREEN Kawasaki 2.07.563
4 YART - YAMAHA Yamaha 2.08.239
5 YOSHIMURA SUZUKI Shell ADVANCE Suzuki 2.08.248
6 F.C.C. TSR Honda Honda 2.08.403
7 TOHO Racing Honda 2.08.426
8 Team KAGAYAMA U.S.A Suzuki 2.08.474
9 MotoMapSUPPLY FutureAccess Suzuki 2.09.227
10 TeamJP Dogfightracing Australia Yamaha 2.09.269
11 Satu HATI Honda Team Asia Honda 2.09.290
12 GMT94 Yamaha Yamaha 2.09.299
13 Honda Suzuka Racing Team Honda 2.09.371
14 EVA RT WEBIKE Trick Star Kawasaki 2.09.699
15 Rosetta Motorrad39 BMW 2.09.793
16 au Teluru MotoUP Racing Team Honda 2.09.905
17 Yoshimura SERT Motul Suzuki 2.09.928
18 TTS & TeluruKoharaRT Honda 2.10.206
19 Mistresa with ATJ Racing Honda 2.10.233
20 TEAM FRONTIER Honda 2.10.591
21 Team SRC Kawasaki France Kawasaki 2.10.601
22 AKENO SPEED - YAMAHA Yamaha 2.11.199
23 Team R2CL - MKS - Partelya Suzuki 2.11.334
24 Honda Endurance Racing Honda 2.11.432
25 TEAM HOOTERS with Shota SAITO Yamaha 2.11.541