EWC race result not all that matters, says de Puniet
Randy de Puniet said Webike SRC Kawasaki France’s 15th-place finish in the 43rd Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours fell below the squad’s expectations – but he added that hopes of a strong result in next month’s Bol d’Or have received a boost.
De Puniet enjoyed a strong start to Japan’s FIM Endurance World Championship counter on 7 August, only for an accident to rule out a high placing for de Puniet and his fellow Frenchmen Florian Marino and Etienne Masson.
“We are little disappointed about the result because P15 is not what we expect after the practice and the start because I start well, I was in sixth position and after the safety car I feel good,” said de Puniet. “Suddenly I start to struggle with the front tyre so I lost some places, I was 10 or 11, trying to finish the stint in this position but unfortunately I lost the front and we lose five laps. After that we had a good race, the pace was quite good, we had the pace to finish between seven and 10 but with this crash we lost too much.”
Despite the loss of positions, de Puniet said Webike SRC Kawasaki France could take plenty of positives away from its Suzuka participation.
“We are quite happy about the improvement we had during the week because we were very close to the top European EWC teams and this is a good thing for the Bol d’Or,” said the 41-year-old. “We will be there to fight for the victory I am quite confident. Even if this week [at Suzuka] was hard it was really important for us to be there and improve the bike. But the most important thing is not about racing but about Gino [Rea] and we really hope he will be okay after this crash.”