The 24 Heures Motos, the opening round of the 2022 FIM EWC championship, started on Saturday 16 April at the Bugatti circuit with promising results for the Honda teams, F.C.C. TSR Honda France and National Motos. Both teams finished on the third step of the podium in their respective categories.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France started the 24-hour race from the third place on the starting grid with the Frenchman Mike Di Meglio, based on the combined results achieved during good qualifying sessions.
Immediately after the start, a collision forced the entrance of the safety car during the first eight laps, but as soon as the race was resumed, Di Meglio placed the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP in the lead and completed his first stint in 2nd place.
In the first stint for Gino Rea, he did a great lap at the beginning of the race and managed to take over the lead. Rea created a gap of 3 seconds before the stint of Josh Hook, and the Australian extended more the lead in the next pit stop.
With very consistent and solid laps, the #5 Fireblade led the race until the eight-hour race, with a very solid pace but unscheduled pitstops forced the team to step back into third position.
Just entering the last quarter of the race, Gino Rea's crash made the team do an amazing job by fixing the bike, losing only 11 minutes approximately at the pit box without consequence on the position. The F.C.C. TSR Honda France demonstrated a true endurance spirit and fought until the end to secure the podium.
Leading the race during the first 8 hours and being 3rd at the 16th hour, it gives to the team 18 intermediate points in addition to the 3 points for the qualifying. The team leaves Le Mans with 49 points and third in the provisional FIM EWC Championship with this third result.
Last year’s winners, National Motos Honda, enjoyed a strong race with a new ride line-up. The Superstock team, who started in 13th place on the grid (2nd in Superstock class), finished claiming the third place on the podium.
The Fireblade #55 was able to keep his second position, but a minor issue with the lighting at the end of the first quarter made the team enter the pits and stand in fourth place.
The team managed to secure the podium with very consistent stints by the National Motos Honda riders and crossed the chequered flag in the third position in the Superstock category.
Honda privateer team RAC 41 Chromeburner had a tough weekend with the injury of the Belgium rider Gregory Fastré on Friday and the early retirement during the race due to mechanical issues with the bike. The Honda #41 leaves Le Mans with positive feelings as all riders had a good rhythm during all the week with a very competitive Fireblade.
The next round of the 2022 FIM EWC Championship will take place at the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, which will host the 24 Hours of Spa on June 4 and 5.