HONDA’S HOME TURF DIS­AS­TER

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

While Suzuka might have been a re­sound­ing suc­cess for Yamaha for the sec­ond year in a row, it was once again an un­mit­i­gated dis­as­ter for Honda in their own back gar­den, with the top Honda ma­chine be­ing the Honda Team Asia team, se­cur­ing a dis­tant eighth.

Even worse, the fac­tory MUSASHI HARC-PRO Honda team of for­mer world cham­pi­ons Nicky Hay­den and Michael van der Mark and three-time win­ner Takumi Taka­hashi failed to fin­ish due to a me­chan­i­cal prob­lem.

Un­able to iden­tify the cause of the issue af­ter­wards, Dutch World Su­per­bike racer van der Mark was left fum­ing with Honda hav­ing seen his sec­ond chance in two years of adding to his tally of two wins dis­ap­pear.

“Nicky went on the bike, and a cou­ple of laps later he stopped next to the track. We didn’t know what had hap­pened, but when I saw him on the truck I knew it was over. How much bad luck can you have two years in a row? We’ve won twice and now lost twice.

“Even the HRC guys don’t re­ally know what’s hap­pened. I’ve never seen so many grown up peo­ple cry­ing. I saw it last year, but this year was even worse.

“There’s no pos­i­tive we can take from it. We came here to do the 8 Hours, and we had a strong team. The only pos­i­tive is that at least this year I got to ride the bike in the race.”

Even the nor­mally re­strained Hay­den was lost for words after the me­chan­i­cal, which saw the squad drop out of sec­ond place while bat­tling for the lead.

“I’m not re­ally sure what to say; ob­vi­ously you come here to this race and every­one puts in a lot of ef­fort, and the goal was to fin­ish and try to win. We’re pretty dis­ap­pointed, be­cause the team put in a lot of ef­fort.

“We had some kind of en­gine prob­lem, which doesn’t nor­mally hap­pen on Hon­das, so I’m sure they’re dis­ap­pointed too. But they’ve won their share of this race, and you’ve got to take the good with the bad! That’s rac­ing I guess – that’s how it is.”

Honda’s prob­lems were com­pounded even fur­ther by a spate of is­sues for other squads down the field, with crashes rul­ing FCC TSR Honda and Toho Honda out of the bat­tle for the lead, while an oil leak for the Lin­colnshire-based Honda En­durance Rac­ing in the fi­nal hour of the event saw them fall from eighth to 13th.

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