Nov 10, 2011
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John McGuinness (77) on the Honda TT Legends CBR1000RR in Qatar.
BMW Motorrad France 99 is showing their ambitions from the Doha free practice
There is some electricity in the air on the Losail racetrack, in Qatar. The 2011 Qtel FIM Endurance World title will be decided this coming Saturday at the 8 Hours of Doha, between the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and the BMW Motorrad France 99. During the first free practice session this morning, the official Belgian team BMW Motorrad France 99 was showing their victory and title ambitions. On the S1000RR #99, SÃ©bastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon and Damian Cudlin has been dominating the session by lapping one second faster than the direct competition, with a 2'00.858 lap which is already faster than their Superpole time last year (2'01.358).
The Monster Yamaha YART (2'01.979) is trying to keep up with the BMW pace, with Igor Jerman, Steve Martin and Katsuyuki Nakasuga (who is replacing Gwen Giabbani, still recovering). Behind them is another R1, the one from Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone, with David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive (2'02.062 during the first session).
Behind these teams on Michelins, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team does not seem to be that comfortable with their Dunlop tyres on the Losail racetrack. The current World Champion also needs to deal without Daisaku Sakai, injured after a crash during some private testing earlier this week. The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team will fight for their 2011 world title with two riders only, Vincent Philippe, who just recovered from the collarbone he broke down at Le Mans, and Anthony Delhalle.
In the Superstock class, the BMW of Van Zon Boenig Motorsportschool Penz13 RT took the best ahead of the Yamaha DG Sport, joined by Hugo Marchand for the season last round, and the Suzuki from Qatar Endurance Racing Team, winner of the last three FIM Superstock World Cups.
The Qatar Endurance Racing Team also recruited three women riders. On the Suzuki #96, the German Nina Prinz, the Italian Paola Cazzola and the Hungarian Nikolett Kovacs signed their best lap this morning in 2'06.441.
First qualification session will be held this afternoon.
FIM Endurance World Championship
Losail International Circuit
Free Practice Two Results:
1. BMW MOTORRAD France 99 (GIMBERT Sebastien/NIGON Erwan/CUDLIN Damian), BMW S1000RR, EWC, 2:00.858
2. MONSTER YAMAHA YART (JERMAN Igor/MARTIN Steve/NAKASUGA Katsuyki), YAMAHA YZF-R1, EWC, 2:01.979
3. YAMAHA France GMT 94 IPONE (CHECA David/FORAY Kenny/LAGRIVE Matthieu), YAMAHA YZF-R1, EWC, 2:02.208
4. S.E.R.T. (PHILIPPE Vincent/DELHALLE Anthony), SUZUKI GSX-R1000, EWC, 2:02.405
5. VAN ZON BOENIG MOTORSPORT SCHOOL (FASTRE Gregory/FILLA Michal/VOS Ari), BMW S1000RR, STK, 2:02.943 26
6. BOLLIGER TEAM SWITZERLAND (SAIGER Horst/STAMM Roman/TANGRE JÃ©rome), KAWASAKI ZX-10R, EWC, 2:03.425
7. DGSPORT (MARCHAND Hugo/MONGE Josep/SCHOUTEN Raymond), YAMAHA YZF-R1, STK, 2:04.498
8. HONDA TT LEGENDS (McGUINNESS John/AMOR Keith/RICHARDS Glen), HONDA CBR1000RR, EWC, 2:04.520
9. YMES FOLCH ENDURANCE (RIBALTA Daniel/VALLCANERAS Pedro Luis/LUIS Jose Manuel), YAMAHA YZF-R1, EWC, 2:04.761
10. QERT (CUDLIN Alex/AL MALKI Nasser/AL MANNAI Rashid), SUZUKI GSX-R1000, STK, 2:05.091
13. MACO RACING TEAM (PRIDMORE Jason/JUNOD Gregory/BLACK Gregg), YAMAHA YZF-R1, EWC, 2:05.304
More, from a press release issued by Honda TT Legends:
Top ten for the Honda TT Legends in Qatar qualifying
The Honda TT Legends completed the first qualifying sessions for the final round of the 2011 Endurance World Championship in ninth place today. The 8-hours of Doha will take place at 13.00 (AST) on Saturday 12 November.
Regular riders John McGuinness and Keith Amor are joined in Qatar by former Honda BSB rider Glen Richards, who was drafted in at short notice to cover for Cameron Donald after he injured his wrist falling on a flight of stairs. Each rider did 30-minutes apiece in warm but windy conditions at the Losail International Circuit, with Richards lapping fastest of the three.
The combined times of the Honda TT Legends put the team in ninth place on the provisional grid for Saturday's race. The riders will complete night practice this evening ahead of the final qualifying sessions tomorrow morning.
Neil Tuxworth team manager
To be quite honest as long as we qualify in the top ten I'm happy. I've never put a lot of importance on qualifying position at an endurance event as it's more about what you do over the eight hour race than it is about where you start. We've seen some good times from our riders today considering two of them have never ridden here before and the other one is straight off the back of a 15-hour flight from Australia. I'm sure we'll improve a little tomorrow, but even if we end up in ninth I'll be more than happy.
First qualifying is over and we're all in one piece. I was out first and did the fastest I've done so far so I'm pretty happy with that. The track is very difficult and it's a long way round but it's becoming more enjoyable as we become more familiar with it. You've just got to be patient going into the corners, wait and look for the apex then try and fire it off the corner. It's a nicely flowing, smooth track and it suits my style. We've got night practice tonight and if we can manage to go a little faster tomorrow I think we'll be in the hunt for a good result.
I'm starting to learn my way around here now. That last session I was a lot happier, a bit faster and more confident on the bike. Hopefully tomorrow I can find a little more time and a little bit more confidence and we'll see what happens.
It's actually gone really well today. I had a feeling it would because I really like the race track here and even though I haven't ridden this actual bike before, I've been riding the CBR1000RR model for the last three years so I'm very familiar with it. On top of that, the Dunlop tyres suit my riding style really well so all in all I've been able to adapt pretty quickly. I feel at home with the team as it partly the old Phase One team I rode for in '07 and partly the Honda team I rode for in '09 so I know everybody. It's nice and I'm really enjoying myself.