YART Yamaha back with a bang
The Endurance championship fraternity reconvened after the summer break at Le Castellet today (Tuesday) for the first day of tests in the run-up to the Bol d’Or, the opening race of the 2019-2020 FIM EWC season to be held on 21 and 22 September on the Paul Ricard circuit.
YART Yamaha went to the top of the class today after Loris Baz set a 1:54.601 lap even at this early stage, only slightly slower than last year’s best time in qualifying, a 1:54.007 by Randy de Puniet (Team SRC Kawasaki France). Loris Baz is standing in for Broc Parkes (currently in Sepang competing in an AARC race) on the factory-backed Austrian team’s Yamaha. Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa were close behind with a 1:54.826 lap. The track at the Paul Ricard circuit was resurfaced last year, and this seems to have been a significant factor in upping performance.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team also set a good pace, posting the second-quickest lap of the day, a 1:55.123. While SERT’s three-rider line-up remains the same (Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black), the factory-backed Suzuki team are now managed by Damien Saulnier, who continues to manage Junior Team Suzuki LMS.
SERT were a shade quicker than Team SRC Kawasaki France. The reigning champions Jérémy Guarnoni, David Checa and Erwan Nigon set a lap time of 1:55.132.
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s first outing on their 2019 S 1000 RR was keenly awaited. Kenny Foray, Ilya Mikhalchik and Julian Puffe did not disappoint, posting a 1:55.308 in the saddle of a bike that is still being developed, just ahead of VRD Igol Pierret Experiences (Xavier Siméon, Florian Alt and Florian Marino) with a 1:55.620.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France and Team ERC Endurance set the 6th and 7th-fastest times ahead of the top Superstock teams. FIM World Cup winners Moto Ain proved quicker than Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto. The two favourites in the Superstock class have both reinforced their respective line-ups. Hugo Clère has joined Roberto Rolfo and Robin Mulhauser to ride Moto Ain’s Yamaha. Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto have recruited Italian riders Christian Gamarino and Kevin Manfredi to partner Frenchman Enzo Boulom.
Team Bolliger Switzerland rounded off the Top 10 on the first day of tests.
The teams have another five hours of testing tomorrow in preparation for the opening round of the 2019-2020 FIM EWC – the Bol d’Or on 21 and 22 September.
Top 10 – 1st day of Bol d’Or tests
1 – YART Yamaha – 1:54.601
2 – Suzuki Endurance Racing Team – 1:55.123
3 – Team SRC Kawasaki France – 1:55.132
4 – BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team – 1:55.308
5 – VRD Igol Pierret Experiences (Yamaha) – 1:55.620
6 – F.C.C. TSR Honda France – 1:55.832
7 – Team ERC Endurance (BMW) – 1:55.879
8 – Moto Ain (Yamaha) – 1:55.991
9 – Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto (Kawasaki) – 1:56.113
10 – Team Bolliger Switzerland (Kawasaki)– 1:56.262
Team JEG-Kagayama did not use a transponder