Honda TT Legends qualify eighth on first day at the Bol d'Or
After months of preparation, the Honda TT Legends team made its debut in the 2011 FIM Endurance World Championship today by placing eighth overall in the first qualifying session of the Bol d’Or at Magny-Cours, France.
TT veterans and road racing specialists John McGuinness, Steve Plater and Keith Amor each put in 30-minute stints on the Honda Fireblade, resulting in an average lap time of 1’43.136 – eighth fastest in a field of 53 teams. Crucially for Sunday’s 24-hour race, all three riders are within one second of each other on the timesheets.
Reserve rider Cameron Donald also took part in qualifying, although his lap times are not counted in the final average. The team will now take part in a night practice session this evening before the final qualifying session tomorrow afternoon. The race will begin at 3pm on Saturday 16 April. Follow @HondaTTLegends on Twitter for real-time updates.
I was hoping to be a bit faster in qualifying but at the end of they day, we bought the bike home safe at a reasonable pace. It’s been a very busy day and we’ve definitely learned a lot. We’ve got a second qualifying session tomorrow and we may be able to ease up the grid a bit – not that it will make too much difference to the race but as a racer you always want to be better! I’ll keep my head down, do my best and see what happens.
Qualifying has gone quite well. I had a hiccup and tipped off at the end of free practice, which gave the guys a lot of work to do before the session but they did a great job. I went out first in qualifying, got in to a groove, managed to get a couple of fast laps in and we ended up with some quite respectable times. I’m pretty happy overall.
Qualifying was not too bad today. I’ve made some improvements and learned a thing or two about riding the bike a bit differently to improve my lap times. Bearing in mind the length of time we’ve been doing this and how long the team has been together, we’ve not done a bad job.
Neil Tuxworth, team manager
The first day of qualifying has gone well for the team. We’ve ended in eighth position but it’s not really about lap times, it’s more about settings for the bike and making sure all the riders are performing correctly. Keith in particular made excellent progress today which means we now have just a one second spread between the riders – this is ideal for the race as it means all three riders can substitute one another if need be. Our aim was to be in the top 15 in qualifying so we’re well within that and we still have another session to go tomorrow. In a 24-hour race, grid position isn’t everything and to be honest I would rather start a little way down to stay comfortable and safe in the first few laps.
2011 FIM Endurance World Championship round one – Le Bol d’Or
Qualifying one – results
1) Team SRC Kawasaki
2) BMW Motorrad France 99
3) Suzuki Endurance Racing Team
4) Monster Yamaha YART
5) Yamaha France GMT 94
6) National Motos
7) Maco Racing Team
8) Honda TT Legends
9) Junior Team Suzuki LMS
10) Bolliger Team Switzerland