The N.1 Honda of FCC TSR Honda France maintained its rank of reigning world endurance champion by winning the 24 hours of Le Mans motorcycles on Sunday, rewarding a flawless race.
Thanks to the performance of Australian Josh Hook and Frenchmen Mike di Meglio and Alan Techer, the Japanese manufacturer is back alongside Suzuki and Kawasaki on the list of winners of the event with 14 victories while the team wins its third title in La Sarthe. after 2018 and 2020.
Solid from start to finish, avoiding the glitches known by other favorites, the N.1 ultimately beat the Yamaha N.7 of the Yart, which finished for the second consecutive year in second place and the BMW N.37 of the BMW Motorrad Endurance team.
Fighting since the start given the day before at 3:00 p.m. in the leading trio, the bike then driven by Alan Techer took the lead around 9:30 p.m. to never leave its first place again and without ever appearing disturbed throughout the night, in clement but much colder weather, and before the fog gave way to a few sunny spells at the end of the morning.
– Suzuki not varnished –
The main surprise of this 46th edition took place barely a few seconds after the start, traditionally given on the cob. Then in pole position, the Suzuki N.12, title holder in the Sarthe, fell into the gravel trap at the first corner, after contact with Josk Hook (Honda N.1).
On board, the French Gregg Black, forced to return to the pits before a new start almost half an hour later, with 18 laps to catch up.
His good comeback throughout the night finally ended in 7th place, 22 laps behind the Honda, after experiencing a new mechanical problem shortly after noon.
Proof that the winners in 2022 were not at the party, the N.18 of Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore lost its title in the Superstock category, grouping motorcycles close to production models, in favor of the BMW N.9 of the Tecmas MRP BMW Racing Team.
If the Honda did not experience a major problem for 24 hours, the pursuers offered a fight to the end for the podium.
In turn, the BMW N.27, the Ducati N.6 and the Yamaha played musical chairs with their share of glitches: a crash shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday for the premiere, mechanical problems and repairs for the N. 6 (5th) in the early morning.
In total, of the 54 motorcycles registered on the starting grid, 34 crossed the finish line. Among the abandonments, the BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers whose French pilot Kevin Denis was hospitalized on Saturday after being accidentally hit by another motorcycle. Sporting director Romain Mange told AFP on Sunday that the driver had been released from hospital.
The next stage of the world championship, the 24 Hours on the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) will take place from June 16 to 18.