Qualifying report: BMW smashes lap record to take Bol d'Or pole and underline EWC title credentials

2022-09-16T20:12:24+02:00September 16th, 2022|2022|

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team will start the deciding round of the FIM Endurance World Championship from pole position – its first in the EWC and a further boost to its title chances.

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team will start the deciding round of the FIM Endurance World Championship from pole position – its first in the EWC and a further boost to its title chances.

The Belgian outfit is one of five squads firmly in the fight for winning the coveted FIM EWC Teams’ crown during this weekend’s 100th-anniversary Bol d’Or 24-hour race and its performance at Circuit Paul Ricard means there have now been three different polesitters during the wide-open 2022 EWC season.

With the results based on the average time of a team’s fastest two riders from Thursday’s First Qualifying and today’s Second Qualifying, the session-topping laps from Markus Rieterberger and Illya Mykhalchyk on their Dunlop-equipped BMW M1000RR proved decisive in southern France.

After heading the First Qualifying order with a best time and a new EWC Qualifying lap record of 1m52.267s – beating Xavier Siméon’s 1m52.374s set in 2021 in the process – German rider Reiterberger went faster still in Second Qualifying, which took place in slightly cooler conditions compared to yesterday, with a rapid 1m51.693s effort. However, it was Mykhalchyk, from Ukraine, who came out on top with a sensational 1m51.641s benchmark run to become the fastest EWC rider at Circuit Paul Ricard. Data from BMW Motorrad World Endurance confirmed Mykhalchyk reached a top speed of 342kph on the famous Mistral Straight.

YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC was second in the combined times ahead of Yoshimura SERT Motul, which tops the EWC Teams’ standings over F.C.C. TSR Honda France after three rounds.

In the Dunlop-supported Superstock category, Wójcik Racing Team took pole for the second consecutive round of the FIM Endurance World Cup having achieved the feat for the 24H SPA EWC Motos in June. Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore placed second with National Motos Honda third.

How the chase for EWC pole glory unfolded
Buoyed by his charging run on Thursday, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s Markus Reiterberger hit the ground running this morning with a 1m51.693s best among the Blue Rider group. Niccolò Canepa was second fastest for YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC, just 0.249s behind Reiterberger with Gregg Black third quickest for Yoshimura SERT Motul on a 1m52.068s. Josh Hook took fourth for F.C.C. TSR Honda France on a 1m52.155s with Leon Haslam, who is taking part in his first 24-hour race this weekend and has never previously competed at Circuit Paul Ricard, fifth for TATI Team Beringer Racing on a 1m52.420s. Spaniard Isaac Viñales impressed for Team Moto Ain with a 1m52.746s effort and was followed by Florian Alt (Viltaïs Racing Igol, 1m52.881s), ERC Endurance-Ducati’s Chaz Davies (1m53.284s), Dan Linfoot (1m53.524s) for Wójcik Racing Team and Webike SRC Kawasaki France’s Randy de Puniet (1m54.782s). As was the case in First Qualifying, Wójcik Racing Team’s Kevin Manfredi was the rider to beat in the Superstock category, completing the 20-minute session with a category-topping time of 1m54.788s. Hugo Clere was next up on a 1m54.974s for Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore.

Illya Mykhalchyk headed the Yellow Rider order for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, his 1m51.641s standout run 0.183s faster than Marvin Fritz could manage for YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC. Kazuki Watanabe (Yoshimura SERT Motul) was third fastest on a 1m52.508s with young Frenchman Corentin Perolari flying to fourth for Team Moto Ain on a 1m52.898s. Mike Di Meglio (1m52.953s) was fifth for F.C.C. TSR Honda France ahead of ERC-Endurance Ducati’s Xavi Forés (1m53.189s). Sheridan Marais was next up for Wójcik Racing Team on a 1m53.461s with four-time Bol d’Or winner Grégory Leblanc (1m53.684s) eighth for TATI Team Beringer Racing. Erwan Nigon (1m53.917s) and Étienne Masson (1m54.043s) rounded out the top 10 for Viltaïs Racing Igol and Webike SRC Kawasaki France respectively. Danny Webb (Wójcik Racing Team) set the pace among the Superstock riders on a 1m54.952s to edge out Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore’s Baptiste Guittet. The session was momentarily red-flagged after Enzo Boulom crashed MACO Racing’s #14 Yamaha. However, the Frenchman was subsequently given the all-clear following medical checks.

Having qualified on pole twice in the EWC this season, Karel Hanika was fastest in the Red Rider segment, setting a best lap of 1m52.100s for YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC despite being plagued by a sensor issue. BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s Jérémy Guarnoni was second, 0.709s adrift, with Florian Marino (1m52.995s) third for Webike SRC Kawasaki France. Sylvain Guintoli was fourth for Yoshimura SERT Motul on a 1m53.188s with Alan Techer (F.C.C. TSR Honda France) fifth (1m53.428s). Team Moto Ain’s Claudio Corti was sixth on a 1m53.954s followed by TATI Team Beringer Racing rider Bastien Mackels (1m54.129s). Mathieu Gines (1m54.460s) was eighth for Wójcik Racing Team with Steven Odendaal ninth for Viltaïs Racing Igol on a 1m54.474s. David Checa (1m54.726s) completed the top 10 for ERC Endurance-Ducati. RAC41-Chromeburner’s Wayne Tessels was the fastest Superstock rider followed by Philipp Steinmayr (Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore).

Robin Mulhauser was the fastest of the reserve team members in the Green Rider group, the Swiss clocking a 1m54.217s best for YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC. Briton Christian Iddon was second for Yoshimura SERT Motul followed by Kenny Foray (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team), James Westmoreland (Viltaïs Racing Igol) and Lorenzo Zanetti, who is back on EWC duty for the first time since the Le Mans pre-test in March. The Italian had been due to contest the full EWC season for ERC Endurance-Ducati only to suffer serious injuries when he crashed during a race in Italy prior to the Le Mans opener. Wójcik Racing Team’s young Hungarian Bálint Kovács was the quickest Superstock contender ahead of Team LH Racing’s Hugo Robert.

FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND-UP: REITERBERGER RULES FOR BMW
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s Markus Reiterberger began First Qualifying for the 100th-anniversary Bol d’Or just like he’d finished Thursday morning’s unofficial private practice with the fastest lap at Circuit Paul Ricard, as the Belgian team’s riders went quickest in three of the four segments.

The two-time FIM Endurance World Championship race winner from Germany was quickest among the Blue Riders in a time of 1m52.267s. Josh Hook left it late to go second fastest for F.C.C. TSR Honda France with a 1m52.511s, while Niccolò Canepa (YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC) placed third on a 1m52.925s. Leon Haslam was fourth quickest for TATI Team Beringer Racing (1m53.117s), as a late charge from Randy de Puniet allowed the Webike SRC Kawasaki France rider to shoot up to fifth place in a time of 1m53.191s, just ahead of Viltaïs Racing Igol’s Florian Alt. Kevin Manfredi underlined his status as a Circuit Paul Ricard expert with the fastest Superstock category time, the Italian posting a best effort of 1m54.674s for Wójcik Racing Team, 0.337s faster than Sébastien Suchet could manage for National Motos Honda. Manfredi’s run was the best Superstock time of all.

Illya Mykhalchyk continued BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s strong First Qualifying Form by setting the fastest time in the Yellow Rider session. The Ukraine rider topped the order in 1m52.415s. Mike Di Meglio was second for F.C.C. TSR Honda France in a time of 1m52.630s with Marvin Fritz (1m53.307s) third for YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC. Xevi Fores dropped his ERC Endurance-Ducati but not before he’d posted a 1m53.470s best to go fourth quickest followed by Wójcik Racing Team’s Sheridan Morais (1m53.642s). Étienne Masson was sixth for Webike SRC Kawasaki France with a lap of 1m53.747s. After Isaac Viñales went seventh quickest for Team Moto Ain in the opening Blue Rider session, Corentin Perolami did likewise for the French privateer outfit in the Yellow Rider running in 1m53.789s. MACO Racing’s Enzo Boulom finished P10. Valentin Suchet ensured National Motos Honda topped the Superstock order ahead of Wójcik Racing Team’s Danny Webb, essentially a swap of positions between the squads from the previous session. Adrian Parassol suffered a fall from his Pitlane Endurance Yamaha but walked away unaided.

YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC’s Karel Hanika, the pole-sitter for the 24 Heures Motos and 24H SPA EWC Motos, prevented a BMW-powered clean sweep with the quickest time in the Red Rider session. The Czech posted 1m52.914s best, which was 0.044s faster than the time Jérémy Guarnoni could manage for BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. Alan Techer (1m53.159s) was third fastest on his return to F.C.C. TSR Honda France in place of the injured Gino Rea, with Florian Marino fourth for Websike SRC Kawasaki France (1m53.190s). There were strong EWC comeback performances from Sylvain Guintoli and Bastien Mackels, who missed the races at Suzuka and Spa-Francorchamps respectively through injury. Guintoli was fifth quickest on FIM Endurance World Championship leader Yoshimura SERT Motul’s #1 Suzuki with Mackels seventh for Kawasaki-powered TATI Team Beringer Racing. However, Guintoli’s 1m53.616s effort didn’t quite make him the fastest of the Yoshimura SERT Motul trio with that honour going to Gregg Black, who set a 1m53.527s, the eighth-best time, in the Blue Rider session. Kazuki Watanabe was ninth quickest for the France-based Japanese team in the Yellow Rider session in a time of 1m54.071s. Elsewhere in the Red Rider running, Steven Odendaal was sixth quickest for Viltaïs Racing Igol with two-time Bol d’Or winner David Checa eighth. Philipp Steinmayr ensured three different Superstock teams took their turn to set the pace with the Austrian quickest for Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore. Meanwhile, a crash for Junior Team LMS Suzuki’s Charles Cortot at T7 caused the session to be red-flagged to enable damage to trackside safety barriers to be repaired.

Kenny Foray was fastest for BMW Motorrad World Endurance in the Green Rider session for reserves, the Frenchman posting an impressive 1m52.717s. Lorenzo Zanetti (ERC Endurance-Ducati) was second fastest followed by Yoshimura SERT Motul’s Christian Iddon, Robin Mulhauser (YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC) and James Westmoreland (Viltaïs Racing Igol). Bálint Kovács was the quickest Superstock competitor for Wójcik Racing Team.

RIDER QUOTES
Formula EWC, Illya Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team): “First of all we are really happy about this pole position, it’s been quite a long wait to make it and finally we get it by showing the work of the whole team and all the riders. It was an enjoyable day yesterday and again today. There was quite a lot of problems with traffic but I had a quite normal strategy to wait for everyone to be gone and I exited on an almost empty track. I managed a good slipstream at the beginning but then I decided not to use the slipstream and just ride along. Maybe I lose a few tenths on the straight but then I won some time in the third sector and the last one. I did a few really good laps and then we finished in the highest position.”

Superstock, Danny Webb (Wójcik Racing Team STK 777): “I’d not ridden a bike for three months and at the beginning it took me some time to get going. But after we found a good setting with the bike yesterday I knew that my confidence would just grow. In the Night Practice I found another good feeling in myself. I was unlucky with traffic yesterday and today I didn’t get a good slipstream but I could see a rider in front of me and that, for sure, helped. But the team has done a fantastic job. We didn’t do the pre-test so for us to get such a good setting on the bike this fast is amazing. We’ve been very unlucky in the races this season but we’ve always shown we are fast. We have a good setting, we all feel comfortable and we just need to manage the situations in the race and get the result we deserve for the whole team because everybody works incredibly hard and puts in 100 per cent effort.”

First Qualifying best laps
Blue Rider Formula EWC:
Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team) 1m52.267s
Blue Ride Superstock:
Kevin Manfredi (Wójcik Racing Team) 1m54.674s
Yellow Rider Formula EWC:
Illya Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team) 1m52.415s
Yellow Rider Superstock:
Valentin Suchet (National Motos Honda) 1m55.259s
Red Rider Formula EWC:
Karel Hanika (YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC) 1m52.914s
Red Rider Superstock:
Philipp Steinmayr (Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore) 1m55.571s
Green Rider Formula EWC:
Kenny Foray (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team) 1m52.717s
Green Rider Superstock:
Bálint Kovács (Wójcik Racing Team) 1m55.859s

Second Qualifying best laps
Blue Rider Formula EWC:
Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team) 1m51.693s
Blue Ride Superstock:
Kevin Manfredi (Wójcik Racing Team) 1m54.788s
Yellow Rider Formula EWC:
Illya Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team) 1m51.641s
Yellow Rider Superstock:
Danny Webb (Wójcik Racing Team) 1m54.942s
Red Rider Formula EWC:
Karel Hanika (YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC) 1m52.100s
Red Rider Superstock:
Wayne Tessels (RAC41-Chromeburner) 1m55.635s
Green Rider Formula EWC:
Robin Mulhauser (YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC) 1m54.217s
Green Rider Superstock:
Bálint Kovács (Wójcik Racing Team) 1m55.654s

The overall qualifying classification is available by clicking HERE.

What’s next?
The 100th-anniversary Bol d’Or, the deciding round of the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship, is due to begin at 15h00 CET on Saturday 17 September. Click HERE for details of the global networks broadcasting the race live.