Honda TT Legends proud of Suzuka achievements
Despite the teamís maiden outing at the Suzuka 8-hour race coming to an early end today, the Honda TT Legends will leave the Japanese circuit with their heads held high. John McGuinness, Keith Amor and Cameron Donald came to the notoriously tough event as rookie riders yet still qualified in the top 20 in a field of expert contenders. All three put in maximum effort to get to grips with the highly technical track and the challenging conditions in the teamís development year.
An issue with the endurance-specific pentagon rear wheel drive system forced the Honda TT Legends to retire after two and a half hours Ė a difficult decision made with the safety of the riders in mind. McGuinness, Donald and Amor each did a stint on the bike in soaring temperatures of over 35 degrees, and while they are disappointed not to have finished, they can certainly be proud of what they have achieved.
The team will now take just a weekís break before heading to its next road-racing event. The Ulster GP will take place from 7-13 August with John McGuinness and Keith Amor competing for the Honda TT Legends. The 2011 Endurance World Championship will continue in September with the Le Mans 24-hour.
We are obviously hugely disappointed not to have finished the race, but the safety of the riders is paramount and therefore we had to make the tough decision to retire. On the positive side, we have learnt a huge amount during our time here. The riders have done an excellent job Ė probably beyond our expectations. We always knew that this was going to be a difficult race and it has turned out that way, but we leave here with valuable knowledge that can only help us improve for future races.
It was a real honour to start the Suzuka 8-hour and the majority of my first stint went well. The problem with the endurance-specific rear wheel system kicked in with two laps to go and I had to push the bike back from the hairpin Ė I was definitely huffing and puffing when I got back! We got back out but unfortunately the issue continued so we had to stop. Itís disappointing but we gave it our all and we have to be proud of that. The conditions here are incredibly tough. Our next stop for endurance is Le Mans so we just have to focus on that.
This was my first experience of racing world endurance and I got just over an hour out there on the bike. I can honestly say that I have never been that hot in my life. I was setting some really good lap times and feeling comfortable so it was a shame we had to pull out early. Iíve learnt a lot, the team has learnt a lot and we just have to come back stronger in Le Mans.
Iím devastated for everyone in the team. I was really enjoying myself out there and Iím obviously really disappointed that I had to come in, but if it is not safe to continue thatís the right decision. Up until that point, the Suzuka experience has been brilliant and I was just starting to get into the race. All we can do is learn from this and improve for Le Mans.