Honda Racing took part in positive free practice and first qualifying sessions in Le Mans ahead of the 24h Motos this weekend.
The result of the combined qualifying times gave Honda Racing an averge lap time of 1:38.044 and the team qualified on provisional third place for the 24h Motos race.
The first rider to get out on track for qualifying was Julien Da Costa who got the second best time in 1:37.594. Then, he was followed by Sébastien Gimbert who finished in sixth position, with a best lap time in 1:38.706. Freddy Foray made his best lap time in 1:37.832 and finished third in his session. Finally, Keith Amor finished his session in 13th position with a best lap time in 1:44.642.
Earlier in the day, Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray, Sébastien Gimbert and Keith Amor managed to finish fourth out of 59 teams in free practice with a best lap time in 1:38.209.
Tonight, these first qualifying sessions will be followed by a night practice session between 21:00 and 22:30 that will allow the team to perfect the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP’s set-up for the race.
The second qualifying session will take place tomorrow from 11:20 to 13:10 and will be followed by a press conference. The rest of the day will be more relaxed and all racing fans will have the opportunity to meet Honda Racing riders at the pit walk between 18:00 and 20:00, at garage number four.
On the media side, today’s schedule started with a class photograph with all the EWC teams reunited in front of the starting line. This was the occasion for the riders to share a nice moment of conviviality before the serious things started.
Honda Racing was also happy to welcome its reserve rider Keith Amor in Le Mans today.
The riders have been allocated a coloured reflective armband in order to be recognised during the 24 hours race. Honda Racing riders’ armbands will be as follows:
Julien Da Costa: blue armband
Freddy Foray: red armband
Sébastien Gimbert: yellow armband
Keith Amor: green armband
Julien Da Costa
We decided to do a small race simulation during the session. The track was clear during my first two laps so it allowed me to make a good lap time. Then I settled myself on an endurance race rhythm in order to get ready for the race. Everything is going well for the team, we are definitely in on it, we are relaxed and this is really important before the race start.
I would have liked to ride in the same lap times as my teammates; unfortunately, we had a small issue with the bike on which I did my qualifying session. But the most important was to work on the race configuration. If we can keep the same pace than in the qualifying sessions, then it should go well for the race.
I am slightly disappointed as a rider because we all like to stand out from the crowd, but I am very happy with the Honda team and with my teammates. Tonight the only thing to remember is that if the 24h Motos start was tomorrow, I would still be very confident.
I am very satisfied because we did not use a qualifying tyre, we went out on track on a race set-up and I succeeded in riding in 1’37. I am happy, the bike is easy to ride, we work all the week long in a race configuration, we kept the same set-up for the qualifying and we are still competitive. This makes me feel very confident.
It’s nice to be back with all the people from Honda. I’ve been here a few years ago, I know quite a lot of people in the paddock so this is nice to come back here and see everyone again. I am happy to get back on the Honda bike and do a few laps on it, unfortunately we had a little problem in qualifying and I only did one lap. I am looking forward to tomorrow to do a few more laps on the bike.