Round 02 France

  • Honda Endurance Racing Grabs Podium Spot at 24 Heures Moto Le Mans

    The Honda Endurance Racing team of Randy de Puniet, Sébastien Gimbert and Yonny Hernandez fought a heroic race to earn a Le Mans 24 Heures Moto podium at the second round of the 2018/2019 FIM Endurance World Championship.


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Honda Endurance Racing Grabs Podium Spot at 24 Heures Moto Le Mans

France, April 21, 2019

The Honda Endurance Racing team of Randy de Puniet, Sébastien Gimbert and Yonny Hernandez fought a heroic race to earn a Le Mans 24 Heures Moto podium at the second round of the 2018/2019 FIM Endurance World Championship. The fight for the win was determined in the final three minutes. #55 National Motos Honda (Emeric Jonchiere, Stéphane Egea, Baptiste Guittet) was another CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 finishing within the top 8.

Honda Endurance Racing

Honda Endurance Racing

After leading the race in the opening stages, Honda Endurance Racing encountered problems with a broken rear light, which needed to be fixed, including a new electronics. This was managed with a loss of slightly more than three minutes.

The team then headed out on track again, now in 11th position. The Fireblade trio of de Puniet, Hernandez and Gimbert persevered, and soon were not only fighting for the podium again, but closed in on the leaders.

Even a small crash for de Puniet could not hinder the team making its way back up the ranking. De Puniet was lucky to escape from his crash with neither him nor the Fireblade SP2 taking damage. He was able to continue without having to pit for repairs.

During the night, the team mostly relied on de Puniet, sending him out every second stint. The former MotoGP rider didn’t disappoint, and shortly after 7 o’clock in the morning he rode the fastest lap of the race at 1’36.819 minutes.

The Honda Endurance Racing team was constantly the fastest team on track, making up for the almost four minutes lost due to repair and the small crash. The morning hours saw the #111 Fireblade constantly swapping positions with their opponents for the win and the podium.

In the end the race turned out to be what will be remembered as of one of the closest contended and most exciting races in the history of endurance racing, with Honda Endurance Racing taking the second spot behind SRC Kawasaki, determined in the last three minutes of the race.

The team had to come in to the pits for a ‘splash-and-dash’ refuelling, not to risk the result on the rostrum, sadly relinquishing the top spot. Not even a 10-minute safety car, 15 minutes to the end of the race would have made the dream of the 24 Heures Moto win come true. Second place is nonetheless a big achievement for the team, which started with a completely new crew and a new evolution of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.

It was also a strong race for National Motos Honda on the #55 Fireblade. The trio of Emeric Jonchiere, Stéphane Egea and Baptiste Guittet had started in 25th position and ended up deep into the top 10 by scoring an eighth place finish.

Reigning endurance world champions F.C.C. TSR Honda France did not have any luck at this year’s Le Mans as Mike di Meglio encountered an early crash, throwing the team back to the end of the field. The Fireblade was repaired in record-breaking time to send the trio of di Meglio, Freddy Foray and Josh Hook back out on track to put their pursuit back on track.

F.C.C. TSR Honda France had fought back to eighth place as they encountered another issue, in which the entire brake system had to be replaced. The squad went back out on track just for Foray to collide with another rider in a racing incident. The bike slid along the track damaging the engine’s cover, spilling oil. The team still kept working hard to not only fix the hole, but to replace inner parts which meant another loss of two hours in the pits.

The team still fought on, sending the bike back out with no chance of having a shot for world championship points but to fulfill the spirit of endurance racing by finishing the race – F.C.C. TSR Honda France finished in 34th spot.

Honda Endurance Racing

Honda Endurance Racing

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Results

FIM Endurance World Championship 2018-2019
Round 2: Circuit Bugatti – France

Le Mans 24 hours

Rank Team
1 TEAM SRC KAWASAKI FRANCE / Kawasaki
2 Honda Endurance Racing / Honda
3 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team / Suzuki
4 WEPOL Racing / Yamaha
5 Bolliger Team Switzerland / Kawasaki
6 3ART- MOTO TEAM 95 / Yamaha
8 National Motos / Honda
34 F.C.C. TSR Honda France / Honda
45 SC PROJECT PATON REPARTO CORSE / Honda
53 Rac 41 / Honda

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