ERC-BMW Motorrad takes pole position
The factory BMW seized pole at the end of a hectic qualifying session. Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance are ahead of YART Yamaha and VRD Igol Pierret Expériences on the starting grid. BMW also took the Superstock pole with GERT56 by GS Yuasa.
Riders lit up the timesheets at the second qualifying session of the 24 Heures Motos on the Bugatti circuit this morning. While Randy de Puniet was the only rider to come in under the 1:37 mark in the first session yesterday afternoon, most of the favourites significantly upped their performance on the track this morning.
Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance carried the day. Kenny Foray, Julien Da Costa and Mathieu Gines shaved a second off their lap time to claim pole position. The 2016 24 Heures Motos were the last time a BMW was on pole. We will have to see how things play out in the race this weekend, but the three riders, all Endurance specialists, are feeling very confident.
YART Yamaha are right behind them in second place on the starting grid. Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa also substantially improved their lap time and remain very serious contenders for the win.
VRD Igol Pierret Expériences continue to amaze. Third on the starting grid, the Viltaïs team, who have moved up into EWC this season with big ambitions, stood up to the favourites with a trio of riders straight from speed championships. While Florian Alt is a long-time rider with the Yamaha-mounted endurance team, Florian Marino comes from Superbike and Xavier Simeon from MotoGP.
Battle of the manufacturers
The leading trio on the starting grid presages an all-out battle of the manufacturers. Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance are Pirelli-shod, while YART Yamaha are using Bridgestone tyres and VRD Igol Pierret Expériences have Dunlop’s support.
Team SRC Kawasaki France are in 4th place on the starting grid ahead of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team. Honda Endurance Racing, who gave it their all in Thursday afternoon’s qualifying, ended up in 6th place ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda France, who opted to focus on preparing their new 2019 CBR 1000 RR SP2 for the race.
Tense Superstock race on the cards
BMW also took the top spot in Superstock. GERT56 by GS Yuasa, once again the best-in-class, will start from 10th place on the grid with riders Julian Puffe, Pepijn Bijsterbosch and Lucy Glöckner. The other teams are right behind the German squad (winners of the Superstock class at the Bol d’Or) on the grid: Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto, Motors Events, SC Project Paton Reparto Corse (who have hired Nico Terrol, 125cc world champion) and Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki, in that order.
In the Experimental class, the Kawasaki iTem 17 will start from 28th place.
The 42nd edition of the 24 Heures Motos will be flagged off at 3pm CEST on Saturday.