HONDA RACING NEWS

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announces its 2015 motorsports strategy and initiatives for expanding the popularity of motorsports

2015 Motorsport Program-Managing Officer and Director, Masahiro Yoshida, with all riders, drivers and team directors

2015 Motorsport Program – Managing Officer and Director, Masahiro Yoshida, with all riders, drivers and team directors

Since the days of its founding, Honda has always tackled the challenge of competing in motorsports events around the world, using the races as a springboard for the company’s growth by testing, refining and proving the worth of its original technologies on the global stage. Under its corporate slogan of “The Power of Dreams,” Honda aims to satisfy the expectations of its customers by putting more power behind its motorsports activities, so that through racing it can bring fun, joy and excitement to people across the globe.

  1. Motorsports Strategy

Motorcycle activities

In the MotoGP, the premier class of the FIM*1 Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Series, Repsol Honda, a Honda factory team will again put forward the lineup of Marc Márquez, who was the champion for the second year in a row last season, paired with Dani Pedrosa who achived 4th place, aiming to win the three titles for the third season running.

The Pata Honda World Superbike Team, supported by Honda Motor Europe Ltd., Honda’s local affiliate in Europe, will vie for victory in the Superbike World Championship Series (WBS) by riding the CBR1000RR. The team will feature the two riders of Sylvain Guintoli, the WSB champion last season, and Michael van der Mark, the champion in the Supersport World Championship (WSS) who also claimed victory two years in a row at the Suzuka 8hours Endurance Road Race.

Based on a desire to satisfy the expectations of many customers and fans as a manufacturer of motorcycles in all categories, Honda is determined to raise its commitment to the four categories of road racing, motocross, trials world championships, and the Dakar.

In the premier MXGP (450 cc) class of the FIM Motocross World Championship Series (MXGP), Honda will again compete with its Team HRC factory team. Evgeny Bobryshev will now be joined by Gautier Paulin, who ranked eighth in the MXGP in the 2014 season.

In AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship held in the U.S., Honda has reinforced its team structure this season through technical support from Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) and the Motorcycle R&D Centre of Honda R&D Co., Ltd., with the aim of capturing the title.

In the FIM Trial World Championship Series (WCT), three riders will compete:Toni Bou, crowned as champion for an unprecedented eight years in a row, Takahisa Fujinami, the only Japanese rider in WCT racing, and Jaime Busto, the WCT World Cup Class champion. The Honda team has their eyes on a ninth straight riders’ championship and tenth straight manufacturers’ championship.

Team HRC factory team competed in the Dakar 2015 Argentina-Bolivia-Chile in January. Paulo Goncalves placed second overall, and Laia Sanz came in ninth overall, the highest ranking ever for a female rider in the race.

HRC does not limit its racing activities to ones focusing on the pinnacle races, but also works on sales of commercial racing machines. The RC213V-RS commercial racer will be supplied to four riders in three teams in the Open Category, and the Dakar Rally machine CRF450 Rally has already been put on the market. HRC will continue to launch motorcycles based on factory machines, which will help expand the popularity of these vehicles.

*1 – FIM: Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme
RACING-2015 Motorsport Program-some of the racing cars3 copy 2

Automobile activities

Honda will participate this season in the FIA*2 Formula One World Championship as a power unit supplier for the McLaren Honda team, which will enter two machines driven by Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. McLaren Honda aims to win the dual titles of drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

In the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team, a Honda factory team, will again feature Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro as the drivers in this third season of full-year participation. Among private teams, in addition to Zengő Motorsport, competing in its third season, Nika Racing will be supplied with Honda cars for the first time. Honda aims to capture the dual titles of drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships.

Managing Officer and Director, Masahiro Yoshida, with all riders, drivers and team directors

Managing Officer and Director, Masahiro Yoshida, with all riders, drivers and team directors

In the GT500 class of the SUPER GT Series, Honda will compete with its NSX CONCEPT-GT equipped with a 2.0-litre inline 4-cylinder direct injection turbo engine and a racing hybrid system, in its attempt to recapture the dual title of drivers’ and team championships with its five teams and five machines. In the GT300 class, Honda will continue its support for AUTOBACS RACING TEAM AGURI, supplying them with a racing hybrid system, in cooperation with M-TEC Co., Ltd.

In the Japanese Championship SUPER FORMULA Series, Honda will supply the HR-414E, a 2.0-litre, inline, 4-cylinder direct injection turbo engine, to nine machines raced by five teams. Using this engine with greater power, Honda aims for the dual titles of drivers’ and team championships.

In the IndyCar® Series, Takuma Sato, now in his sixth season, will again compete for A.J. Foyt Racing.

 

 

 

 

HONDA RACING NEWS

HRC Renews Relationship with Casey Stoner
RACING-HRC Casey Stoner2 copyHonda Racing Corporation has retained the services of two-time World Champion Casey Stoner through 2015. The 2007 and 2011 MotoGP World Champion will test for two days in Sepang between the 29th and 31st January, prior to the first Official IRTA pre-season test. A second test will take place towards the end of the year, but no date is confirmed at present. 

Shuhei Nakamoto, Executive Vice President of HRC

“First of all, Happy New Year! We are very happy to be able to start 2015 by announcing the continuation of our relationship with Casey and keep him in the Honda family. The feedback he gives HRC is invaluable and we are fortunate to have a test rider capable to push the RC213V to its limits.”

Casey Stoner

“After having a long break from riding, it was refreshing to get back on a bike a few months ago! Now after a relaxing Christmas and New Year I’m happy to announce that I’ve been speaking to Nakamoto san and we have come to an agreement in continuing our relationship. I am currently preparing to ride in Sepang in a few weeks – which will be very different weather and humidity to Motegi – so I need to get myself fit!”

HONDA RACING NEWS

McGuinness and Cummins remain with Honda Racing for 2015 roads campaign

Honda road racing team - McGuinness & Cummins

Honda road racing team – McGuinness & Cummins

Honda Motor Europe has confirmed that John McGuinness and Conor Cummins will once again form a two-man squad for its 2015 road racing campaign with the Honda Racing team. The ‘Morecambe Missile’ and the ‘Ramsey Rocket’ will contest the Superbike and Senior classes at the Isle of Man TT and the Superbike races at the North West 200 aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP.

21-time Isle of Man TT winner McGuinness had a frustrating 2014 season after suffering a broken scaphoid while training on his off-road machine. Despite this, he secured very respectable top-ten places in the Superbike and Senior TT races, as well as a well-deserved victory in the TT Zero class. 2015 will see McGuinness return fully fit and ready to prove that he’s still the man to beat on the Mountain course.

Cummins made an impressive debut with Honda Racing in 2014, securing a brace of podium finishes at the NW200 and the Isle of Man TT, including second place in the Blue Riband Senior TT. With a successful first season with Honda Racing under his belt and having proven his ability on the roads, the 28-year old Manxman is certain to be in the fight for race wins in 2015.

In addition to their commitment with the Honda Motor Europe-backed Honda Racing squad, McGuinness and Cummins will compete for the privately owned Jackson Racing team aboard the Honda CBR600RR in the Supersport class at the NW200 and TT, as well as contesting the 2015 Endurance World Championship Superstock class aboard the Fireblade SP. Cummins will also compete for the team in the Superstock class on the roads.

Neil Tuxworth

We’re very happy to retain both John McGuinness and Conor Cummins for our 2015 road racing campaign. It goes without saying that our well-established relationship with John is proven to reap results. Last year was tough for him with his injury but he still got some good results. He’s very determined and we have every confidence that he’ll come back fighting. He is still very capable of winning races. Conor really impressed us in 2014, not just with the results, but also with his work ethic and attitude. He’s hungry for success, yet incredibly humble and he really puts in the effort on and off the bike. We’re delighted to have him on board for a second season. I believe we are in a very strong position for the 2015 road racing events.

John McGuinness

There’s no denying that 2014 was a tough year for me. It shook my confidence and held me back but I’m ready to put it all behind me and get back to the business of winning races. I’ve said it before but the Honda team is like family to me and that support means everything. I can’t wait to get back on the bike and prove that there’s life in the old dog yet.

Conor Cummins

2014 was a great year for me. I achieved a career-long dream in riding for the official Honda team and I just wanted to make the very most of the opportunity I’d been given. I’m thrilled to be staying with the team for 2015 and now that I have a season of experience on the Fireblade SP under my belt, I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve. Hopefully we can bring home some good results.

 

HONDA RACING NEWS

DAKAR RALLY – Team HRC will be back

Paulo Goncalves

Paulo Goncalves

Seven stage victories, leaders for half the rally, overall runner-up place for Paulo Gonçalves and ninth spot for Laia Sanz, add up to a more-than-positive final report card for Honda and Team HRC at the Rally Dakar 2015. The team will be back next year to win because even straight after the end of the Rally Dakar 2015, Team HRC already have their sights on the 2016 edition. Important conclusions drawn from this year’s event will form the backbone of work to be carried out in preparation for Dakar 2016.

After an almost twenty-five year official absence from the race, Team HRC have retaken the world’s most gruelling rally by storm, scoring the greatest number of stage victories. The ‘all for one’ work ethic, the ability to overcome every type of adversity, and the never-say-die approach, make it the team to be reckoned with.

It was a genuine challenge for the riders and the team responded accordingly with great competitiveness from both riders and machines. The Honda CRF450 RALLY passed the test with flying colours, with four of the five bikes making it to Buenos Aires over every type of possible terrain, at sea-level or at over 4,000 meters altitude, on route through Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.

Joan Barreda proved to be an unyielding leader throughout the first week of rally and only a highly-controversial decision to race in perilous conditions robbed the Spaniard of final victory. Barreda collected more stages than any other in the Dakar 2015 and showed an unparalleled level of competitiveness, hunger for speed, dexterity at navigation, sharp strategy, and above all leadership for Team HRC.

Paulo Gonçalves, similarly to Barreda, was in the running against a tough rival. The Portuguese ace finished as an exceptional runner-up not far off the eventual overall winner in Buenos Aires. Likewise, Hélder Rodrigues, two-time stage winner, and Jeremías Israel, put in fine unselfish performances and were always on hand whenever the team was in need.

A brilliant Laia Sanz shone throughout, surpassing all her own objectives and setting precedents by finishing higher than any other female in the entire history of the Dakar as she rubbed shoulders with the elite of the cross-country rally competition.

Laia Sanz

Laia Sanz

See you in the Dakar 2016!

Martino Bianchi – Team HRC General Manager

The final evaluation is, of course, good. We are on the podium, and we haven’t been on there for many years, so we deserve it. We have proved that we are very close to being the top in this race. We’ve shown everyone the potential of this project. The bike is very fast and the team is working very well, and our riders are very well-prepared to be able to win this event. We had a few unlucky situations, but we won seven out of thirteen stages and we won these with three different riders. So this is also something important, that we have shown our potential. I wish to thank everyone for the great work that they have done so far, and let’s do a bit of fine-tuning to reach the target in the next edition of the Dakar.

Taichi Honda – Team HRC Technical Director

I’m pleased with the results, but a bit disappointed because we had a few setbacks during the race. Fortunately, the team was able to work together in those moments as if it were one rider. Paulo finished second and Laia ninth and that’s really good. The bike’s performance was better than last year’s, and we have discovered some issues that we will be able to work on before next year, and we will be back at the Dakar with the highest expectations.

Wolfgang Fischer – Team HRC Team Manager

So the 2015 Dakar is over, with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other. Of course, we didn’t achieve our main target to win the race. We tried everything. We had the tools for it. We had the team for it. We had the bike, but in the end it wasn’t the race for us to make it all happen. On the other hand, we can be really happy to have the second place. Achieving that with Paulo Goncalves is really the spirit of the team. It shows the quality of the team and its teamwork together, and we are really proud of this. Now we can build a really strong team, and are now looking forward to coming back at the next one even stronger. Next time we will do it in the second week, the way we did in the first week. Thanks to everybody in the team, and thanks for the great cooperation and for the strong belief in our commitments.