Honda Racing provisional third on the grid for Oschersleben 8 Hours

The Oschersleben 8 Hours got underway with what turned out to be an eventful first qualifying for the Honda Racing Endurance World Championship team, which is subsequently provisional third on the grid for Saturday’s race.

Julien Da Costa took part in the first of the three 20-minute qualifying sessions, setting a fast lap of 1.27:505 early on to top the timesheet. He unfortunately crashed out with four minutes remaining and dropped to fifth overall. Da Costa was unhurt but the Honda Racing CBR1000RR Fireblade SP suffered serious fire damage.

The team quickly prepared its second machine for the following session and Sebastien Gimbert, who posted a lap of 1.27:688 to place second quickest. Freddy Foray completed the third and final session of the day fifth fastest with a time of 1.27:847.

The combined average of the three riders’ times – 1.27:673 – places the Honda Racing squad in provisional third on the grid for Saturday’s Oschersleben 8 Hours race. SRC Kawasaki occupies the top spot with Monster Energy Yamaha second. The final qualifying sessions to determine the grid positions will take place tomorrow afternoon.

Neil Tuxworth - team managerIt’s been a very eventful qualifying session after a relatively easy free practice this morning. Julien’s crash changed our plan for the whole session because we had to move on to the second machine. Considering that and the fact that we’ve been using race tyres as opposed to qualifying tyres, placing third overall at this stage is an excellent position to be in. Having said that, we certainly have a number of issues to address to make sure we improve on this tomorrow.

Julien Da CostaIt was a real shame that I crashed at the critical moment when I was going for a fast lap. It was a little crash for me but a big crash for the bike, so I am really sorry for the team. We have a good feeling on the bike, and on the race tyre we are almost as fast as the other teams that are on a qualifying tyre, so this is good. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Freddy ForayThird is not so bad because every time we start first we have a problem in the race, so maybe third is a good thing! Seriously though, third is not too bad. The bike has a good feeling every time we go out. We didn’t lead the qualifying but we were on a race tyre and many of the other riders were on a qualifying tyre, so our times are good. To be honest, I am feeling positive.

Sebastien GimbertIt was a difficult session for me because after Julien’s crash I had to go out on the second bike. This meant that I couldn’t push as hard as I would have liked as there is no back up in the event of another crash. I went for a good time rather than pushing for an excellent time. The crew have a lot of work to do this evening and I didn’t want to add to that. Overall I am happy though. Tomorrow is a new day, we’ll have two bikes and I’ll be able to push harder.