SRC Kawasaki’s consistency got them the top spot. No pushing too hard, no crashes: Mathieu Gines, Randy de Puniet and Jérémy Guarnoni all turned in a smooth, steady performance to pick up provisional pole. ‘Since the track was really hot, I asked my riders to keep their prowess in check,’ said SRC Kawasaki team manager Gilles Stafler. ‘This was a working session for us. We’ll go after a fast lap time tomorrow morning, when the track is cooler.’
So the Kawasaki clan is preparing for a much more heated session tomorrow (Friday) morning. It’s worth recalling that Randy de Puniet (the quickest of the Kawasaki riders today, with a 1’37.181 lap) also set the Bugatti circuit’s lap record (1’35.730) last year.
Tecmas BMW rider Julien Da Costa notched up the day’s fastest individual lap (1’37.013). But F.C.C. TSR Honda France finished 2nd on the provisional grid, based on the average best time of the team’s three riders. Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Alan Techer gave the Japanese Honda an edge over Tecmas BMW’s Julien Da Costa, Camille Hedelin and David Perret in terms of a chance at the win.
YART Yamaha (Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Takuya Fujita) took 4th place after the first qualifying, ahead of the ambitious Team NRT48-BMW Motorrad, whose German rider Lucy Glöckner once again turned in a remarkable performance alongside Kenny Foray and Peter Hickman.
GMT94 Yamaha got slowed down by Mike Di Meglio taking a minor fall, coming in ahead of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and Honda Endurance Racing (whose Gregory Leblanc also crashed).
A close fight in Superstock
Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences and Team 33 Accessoires Louit Moto finished neck and neck in the Superstock class. Moto Ain, widely expected to be the favourite in the category, got slowed down by a crash and took 3rd spot in Superstock, ahead of Sarazin Motorsport by Hall Moto 02, Tati Team Beaujolais Racing, Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki (held up by a fuel pump problem) and 3 ART Moto Team 95, which suffered a crash.
So the second qualifying, scheduled for 10.15am tomorrow, will be decisive for all – and undoubtedly very eventful on a cooler, faster track.