SRC Kawasaki takes the lead
The factory teams were neck and neck as free practice set the ball rolling at the 81st Bol d’Or, the first round of the 2017-2018 FIM EWC.
Team SRC Kawasaki came out on top, with Randy de Puniet (teammates: Mathieu Gines and Fabien Foret) completing a 1’58.247 lap at the first timed session on the Paul Ricard circuit. “We’re one second faster on average than at last year’s Bol d’Or” said Gilles Stafler, team manager of the Kawasaki #11.
SRC Kawasaki were almost a half-second faster than GMT94 Yamaha’s David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Mike Di Meglio. F.C.C. TSR Honda France clocked the third-fastest time thanks to Alan Techer, who has returned to the track in top form after an arm wound last season; he is racing with Josh Hook and Freddy Foray.
In fourth place, Honda Endurance Racing kept up a good pace with its all-new squad comprising Gregory Leblanc, Sébastien Gimbert and Yonny Hernández, proving faster than YART Yamaha’s Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Kohta Nozane.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team came in sixth, but Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black are feeling confident. “We have a consistent team” points out SERT team manager Dominique Hébrard. “A regular performance with no mistakes made will count in the race.”
Wepol BMW Motorrad by Penz13 was the quickest BMW on the track this morning, ahead of Tecmas BMW.
The first Superstock machine, Team 33 Accessoires Louit Moto, placed ninth ahead of Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences, Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki and Moto Ain CRT.
Teams will return to the track this afternoon, at 4.20pm CEST, for the first qualifying of the Bol d’Or.