YART Yamaha sets the pace at Le Mans
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team dominated the two days of preliminary testing for the 24 Heures Motos. The Austrian team – with Bridgestone as official tyre supplier in 2017 – made good use of the enhanced grip on the resurfaced Bugatti circuit.
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team further improved its best time during the second day of tests, to 1’36.866. The support of the Japanese engineers from the Austrian Yamaha team’s new tyre supplier Bridgestone undoubtedly contributed to this performance. The lap time is close to the record clocked in 2015 in qualifying by Sheridan Morais, also riding for YART: 1’36.578. The new surface of the Bugatti circuit – the grip in dry conditions was much appreciated by all the riders – makes it likely that the record will be broken at the 40th edition of the 24 Heures Motos on 15 and 16 April, assuming rain does not spoil the party.
Team SRC Kawasaki, winner of the 2016 edition, turned in the second best performance of the two days of testing. The Pirelli-shod factory Kawasaki clocked a 1’36.934 lap, followed by Suzuki Endurance Racing Team with a 1’36.977. These were the only three teams to come in under the 1’37 mark. Next in line were Team Tecmas BMW (Pirelli) with a 1’37.321 lap, and GMT94 Yamaha (Dunlop) with a 1’37.364 lap.
Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences on the offensive
The big surprise was Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences (Michelin). The Superstock team #333, running a beefed-up line-up of young speed championship riders (Axel Maurin, Bastien Mackels, Florian Alt and Olivier Depoorter), completed a fastest lap on Wednesday morning of 1’37.436 to place ahead of the Dunlop-shod Honda Endurance Racing team on the time sheet (1’38.069).
Free practice for the 24 Heures Motos will start at 10am on Thursday 13 April. Serious business gets underway on Thursday afternoon at the first qualifying.