BMP-ELF-99 AIMING FOR THE PODIUM IN ALBACETE
After the disappointment of finishing 15th in the 24 Heures Moto at Le Mans last weekend, the BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team will be satisfied with nothing less than a podium at the next round of the Endurance World Championship, which takes place at Albacete on the weekend of 22/23 May.
The goal for the BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team at Le Mans was a top five finish but, after qualifying in third place and then moving up to second in the race during the first hour, a podium finish became a distinct possibility for the team on their EWC debut.
The problems started for the team with a refuelling stop that took longer than planned, dropping them down to fourth place. But it was a technical issue with the lighting system on the distinctive red, white and blue Honda CBR1000, which took more than 75 minutes to rectify, that lost the team any chance of securing a podium finish in their first 24-hour race.
Despite a deficit of 39 laps to the race leading Kawasaki, the team's three riders, Matthieu Lagrive, Damian Cudlin and Werner Daemen battled on to the end, eventually fighting their way back through the field to take 15th place at the chequered flag and the team's first championship points.
Both the riders and the team were disappointed with the final result, as practice, qualifying and the early part of the race had illustrated quite clearly that the BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team would be a force to be reckoned with this season. In the run up to the next race, which is just one month away, the BMP-ELF-99 Racing Team will be addressing the issues that lost them valuable time at Le Mans, to ensure that they are ready to challenge for the podium in Albacete.
Matthieu Lagrive: Team Rider
"I'm not so happy with the race result in Le Mans. It was disappointing because it was possible for us to make a much better result if we hadn't suffered technical problems with the bike. We shouldn't really have lost so much time for what were actually quite minor problems, but that's the reality of where we are at the moment. On the other hand, I'm happy enough with my own performance, as I able to lap consistently throughout and even managed to set the fastest lap of the race as we were fighting our way back through the field and back into the points. For me, the most important point for the future is the motorcycle itself; we have a good bike and a good engine. If we can fix some of the issues that cost us time in Le Mans then we can take our rightful place at the front of the race, even if we are privateers battling against the might of the factory-supported teams. There is still a lot of work to do, but I have every confidence that Michael Bartholemy will ensure everything is in place ready for the next race."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"We didn't realise our potential in Le Mans; it's as simple as that. We could have been on the podium but for some technical problems that, in all honesty, should not have cost us as much time as they did. The issue with the lights should have been fixed in minutes and it was the same with the damage following Matthieu's minor crash. We took too long to react and that's basically down to us being a new team in this championship. I have to say sorry to all three of our riders, as they did a fantastic job, but lost out on a good result for reasons beyond their control. Since the race we have looked closely at the areas in which we need to improve and I have promised our riders that we will be addressing these before the next race in Albacete. We will return with a much slicker operation and a stronger team at Albacete, where we will be looking for nothing less than a podium finish."