Honda CR Electric Proto Shows Leading Pace in Valuable Debut Weekend
Team HRC completes a successful competitive debut for the CR Electric Proto
SAITAMA, Japan – After a successful qualifying run yesterday, Sunday’s race day brought mixed fortunes for Team HRC but a race-leading demonstration of pace of the new CR Electric Proto at round 8 of the All Japan Motocross Championship.
In the morning’s practice, Team Honda HRC advisor and test rider Trey Canard—racing as a wildcard entry—followed on seamlessly from his Saturday pace to go second-fastest on the all-electric #41, making its global competitive debut this weekend in the premier IA1 class against 450cc gas-powered machinery.
Then came the first-ever race for Honda’s new prototype machine, in the form of the first moto. The opening race was smooth, with Canard starting strongly, settling into a rhythm and crossing the line second aboard the CR Electric Proto. As learning, development and ultimately the pace continued to improve throughout the weekend, Canard closed to just 0.7 seconds off the fastest lap and was looking fast.
In the second moto, Canard again started well and looked to be set to keep building on the weekend’s momentum, but an early crash with moto 1 rival Jay Wilson unfortunately put him out of the race.
Returning for the third moto, Canard made best use of the Honda’s instant electric torque and again started strongly, taking the lead exiting the first corner. In fact, Canard took two of the three holeshots on CR Electric Proto.
Starting to stretch that lead from his weekend-long rival, the #27 of Wilson, it would have been the perfect culmination of the weekend’s learning and work on the CR Electric Proto to take the machine’s first win in its first-ever competitive weekend—but unfortunately, as the track continued to get ever more rutted, Canard crashed with 12 and a half minutes remaining of the 15-minute race.
Nonetheless, with the opportunity provided by racing to learn, develop and prove the prototype machine in the heat of battle for the first time, it has been a successful and encouraging debut for the CR Electric Proto—a weekend that has provided valuable data for ongoing development of Honda’s all-electric motocross initiative.
“This weekend was definitely a big challenge for me, but it was a great race for our development. Each time I was on the track, we improved the motorcycle and the CR Electric Proto team adapted to the challenge. We had some shines of brilliance as a team, the starts being one of them, with two of the three holeshots. There were also some sections on the track that were very impressive, and that makes me excited for the future of this motorcycle. I’m disappointed to not finish all of the motos after all of the hard work the team has put in, but I think we showed that the potential of the bike is quite high, especially for our very first attempt at racing. I’m grateful to be a part of this effort, and I’m very proud of each and every person who has worked so hard.”
Taichi Honda: Team HRC Team Manager
“First of all, I would like to thank the development team and everyone involved for preparing the CR Electric Proto to be ready for competition in such a short time. I would also like to thank Trey Canard for showing his potential, even though he has only had a few tests. We had three heats for the first time today, and we will take what we learned from each race and feed it back to the ongoing development of the CR Electric project.”