MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA YART DOMINATES QUALIFYING
Weather conditions were sunny as qualifying wrapped up at the Oschersleben 8 Hours, the third round of the FIM EWC, on this very technical track. After qualifying sessions spread over two days, Monster Energy Yamaha YART emerged as the fastest team, ahead of SRC Kawasaki and GMT94 Yamaha.
After their mishaps at the 24 Heures Motos in Le Mans and the Suzuka 8 Hours, the Monster Energy Yamaha YART squad went all out to notch up a good result in Germany. “We’re not giving championship-targeted instructions anymore, since we’ve fallen so far behind in the standings,” said Mandy Kainz, the team manager. “Our only aim right now is to ride fast, dominate our rivals and prove that our Yamaha and our riders are the best in the line-up.” That approach has paid off: they’ve managed to get their official bike to top place after the qualifying sessions. “We have a new bike,” Australian rider Broc Parkes confirmed. “It was tough, but we gave it everything we had, and improved our R1 set-up lap after lap to suit all three riders.”
The SRC Kawasaki team had several crashes at Suzuka that totally destroyed the bike, and had to rebuild two bikes in a hurry to get back into the fray in Germany. “In the circumstances, second place on the grid is an unhoped-for result,” said Gilles Staffler, the team manager. “We focused all our attention on measuring the performance of the bikes and setting them up to be competitive. This second place is reassuring, and we’re feeling confident about the race.”
Currently second in this year’s championship standings, 29 points behind the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, reigning champions GMT94 Yamaha won themselves a handsome third place on the grid. “We didn’t have qualifying tyres,” Spanish rider David Checa explained, “and that gave some of our rivals an edge over us. But qualifying is one thing, the actual race is another. We know from experience that we’ll have to put in a great, consistent performance while sticking to our race strategy if we want to win.“
Current championship leader Suzuki Endurance Racing Team erred on the side of caution during the qualifying sessions. After Anthony Delhalle’s fall yesterday, the SERT bike will be starting the race all the way back in seventh place. But the experienced squad will undoubtedly make up for lost time during the race.
The BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com riders’ average times over two days put them in fourth place, even though they have the quickest rider in the line-up: Markus Reiterberger lapped the fastest individual time of 1.26.330.
The Honda Racing team managed to climb from seventh place yesterday to fifth after totally changing the bike set-up, with Sébastien Gimbert lapping his best time today. But their fuel strategy during the race remains their biggest advantage: they squeeze in two to four laps more than their adversaries between stints.
In the Superstock class, current championship leader Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki slipped to second in the category by placing ninth on the starting grid – not least because local squad Völpker NRT 48 & Penz13 by Schubert Motors created an upset, zooming to first in the category by placing sixth on the grid, ahead of some EWC heavyweights. “This is my first endurance race!” exclaimed Dominik Vincon, one of the riders. “Our BMW is working really well, we’ve got good tyres, and we’re consistent. It’s funny to find ourselves being team members: we usually compete against each other in the German IDM championship. And we’re becoming good friends here!”