TEAM SRC KAWASAKI TAKES PROVISIONAL POLE
It was almost as if the actual race had already started on the Paul Ricard circuit, with a very tight battle for the lead from the start of the late afternoon qualifying session. Team SRC Kawasaki dominated the fight, but the final pole will be decided around 12.30pm today, after the second qualifying session.
Team SRC Kawasaki made its ambitions clear from the outset at the first qualifying session. Fabien Foret lapped his best time – 1’58.294 – in the saddle of his Kawasaki #11. The only other riders in the select club lapping under the 1’59 mark were his teammate Gregory Leblanc (1’58.712) and Max Neukirchner for the Monster Energy Yamaha YART team. The Austrian team’s Yamaha, ridden by the very competitive Broc Parkes and Sheridan Morais, picked up second place in the qualifying ahead of GMT94 Yamaha, Honda Endurance Racing and the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team. These five teams all lapped practically within the same second, ahead of Junior Team LMS Suzuki, which maintained its position as leader of the Superstock class, and BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com.
A couple of falls hampered the progress of two of the teams at the high end of the classification: Maco Racing, whose rider Lucas de Carolis took a tumble, and National Motos after Gregory Junod’s fall.
Gilles Stafler, team manager of Team SRC Kawasaki
“We’re showing great potential, with a very homogenous trio of riders – Greg Leblanc, Matthieu Lagrive and Fabien Foret, not forgetting our top-end stand-in, Erwan Nigon, who’s lapping at 1’59. We could put in an even stronger qualifying performance, but we’re going to focus on the bike-set up for the race during the second session to make sure we have a fast, easy machine.”
Mandy Kainz, team manager of Monster Energy Yamaha YART
“We’ve got a fast, consistent squad. Unfortunately we’re having to do without Ivan Silva, who broke a leg when he fell during the free tests. And Max Neukirchner is still convalescing. But we’ve got nothing to lose here, so we’re aiming for an outright win anyway.”
Christophe Guyot, team manager of GMT94 Yamaha
“For this race, which is going to be very hard on the bike’s mechanics, we’ve played it safe and stuck close to the original set-up, and we’re very satisfied with our performances on racing tyres in the qualifying. It’s the best race pace we’ve managed since the start of the season.”