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Sep 18, 2015

SRC Kawasaki Earns Pole Position For Bol d'Or 24-Hour (Updated)

Team SRC Kawasaki (11).

FIM Endurance World Championship

Paul Ricard Circuit, Le Castellet, France

September 18, 2015

Qualifying Results (rankings based on average of riders' best lap times):

1. Team SRC Kawasaki (Gregory Leblanc 1:58.363/Matthieu Lagrive 1:59.089/Fabien Foret 1:57.382), Kaw ZX-10R, SBK, 1:58.278

2. Monster Energy Yamaha - YART (Broc Parkes 1:58.799/Max Neukirchner 1:58.209/Sheridan Morais 1:58.464), Yam YZF-R1, SBK, 1:58.490

3. GMT94 Yamaha (David Checa 1:59.301/Kenny Foray 1:59.519/Matheiu Gines 1:57.841), Yam YZF-R1, SBK, 1:58.887

4. Honda Endurance Racing (Julian Da Costa 1:59.413/Sebastien Gimbert 1:59.311/Freddy Foray 1:59.453), Hon CBR1000RR SP, SBK,1:59.392

5. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe 1:59.413/Anthony Delhalle 1:59.332/Etienne Masson 1:59.772), Suz GSX-R1000, SBK, 1:59.551

6. BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com (Markus Reiterberger 1:57.253/Bastien Mackels 2:00.405/Pedro Vallcaneras 2:01.311), BMW S1000RR, SBK, 1:59.656

7. Volpker NRT 49 & Penz13 by Schubert Motors (Marco Nekvasil 1:59.255/Stefan Kerschbaumer 2:00.817/Dominik Vincon 1:59.512), BMW S1000RR, STK, 1:59.861

8. Junior Team LMS Suzuki (Baptiste Guittet 2:00.208/Gregg Black 1:59.998/Romain Maitre 2:00.617), Suz GSX-R1000, STK, 2:00.274

9. Team Bolliger Switzerland (Horst Saiger 2:02.059/Roman Stamm 1:59.870/Nicolas Salchaud 2:00.771), Kaw ZX-10R, SBK, 2:00.900

10. Tati Team Beaujolais Racing (Julien Enjoras 2:00.761/Cedric Tangre 2:01.265/Michel Savary 2:01.310), Kaw ZX-10R, STK, 2:01.112



More, from a press release issued by Honda Endurance Racing:

Fourth place start for Honda Endurance Racing at the Bol d'Or

The Honda Endurance Racing team will start tomorrow’s 24-hour Bol d’Or race from fourth position aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP.

Honda’s trio of endurance specialists Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sébastien Gimbert completed the final qualifying sessions today and their combined times gave the Honda squad an average lap time of 1’59.392.

It was a sunny and dry session that saw Da Costa obtain the fifth best time with a 1’59.413 lap. Team-mate Gimbert who had crashed during the session, was unhurt and was able to finish his session seventh, with a best time of 2’00.401. Foray’s 1’59.859 lap time saw him finish his session in sixth position.

Yesterday’s night session saw the Honda team finish again in fourth position with a best lap time of 2’01.012.

The Bol d’Or race will start tomorrow (Saturday 19 September) at 15:00 (GMT+1).

For all the latest news on the team in real time follow @HondaRacingCBR on Twitter.

Julien Da Costa

I improved a little bit so I am a bit more satisfied with my lap times. We have a good pace for the race and we managed to secure the fourth place, which we’re happy with. The race is 24-hours and a lot can happen in that time, so we need to make sure we get a good start and can stay within the leading group. I’m looking forward to the race now and seeing what we can do.

Sébastien Gimbert

The track conditions were good, I tried to push at the maximum but unfortunately I crashed out and hit a wall. Thankfully I walked away unhurt, I have to rest a bit now but I am ok. I feel sorry for the team because I gave them some extra work before the race! It was only a qualifying practice today, the most important thing is to be ready for tomorrow as it’s race day.

Freddy Foray

We improved again since yesterday, which is good. Today’s crash with Sébastien was a bit stressful for us all because we were scared that he was injured – fortunately he is well so it’s reassuring. As far as I’m concerned I improved my lap time even if I only did two laps. Things are going in the right direction and are promising, we know that the Bol d’Or is a 24-hour race so we know that being on pole or starting from fourth place is not that important. We have to stay focused on the race and hope that luck will be on our side.



More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com:

Reiterberger storms to Le Castellet lap record – BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com to start Bol d’Or in sixth position

Le Castellet, France. BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com will start the 79th edition of the Bol d’Or race on sixth position of the grid. In tomorrows final race of the 2015 FIM Endurance World Championship season the BMW S 1000 RR will be ridden by German Markus Reiterberger, Belgian Bastien Mackels and former MotoGP™ rider Lukas Pesek from Czech Republic. The race is held over 24 hours starting on Saturday, 18th of September at 15 o’clock local time and is broadcasted for almost the entire duration on Eurosport and Eurosport 2 (see schedule below).

German Markus Reiterberger earned a new Circuit Paul Ricard Le Castellet lap record during today’s Qualifying session for the 79th edition of the Bol d’Or. The BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com rider powered it’s Double-R to a best effort of 1:57,253 Minutes making him the fastest rider around the legendary track in Southern France. Only two further riders were able to brake under the 1:58 Minute barrier today with Fabien Foret and Mathieu Gines thus being two local heros.

Belgian Bastien Mackels lowered his personal best effort to a 2:00,145 time today giving him eighth spot in the Qualifying group for the second riders.

Teammate Pedro Vallcaneras from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, improved himself by one and a half seconds to end the Qualifying in 2:01,311 Minutes.

The team’s fourth rider – former MotoGP™ rider and two time GP winner finisher Lukas Pesek – proved to be second fastest of the foursome squad to lap Paul Ricard in a best effort of 1:59,955 Minutes.

Resulting from the lap times and performances during the practice sessions and Qualifyings, BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com has decided to race the 24 hours Bol d’Or at the Paul Ricard Circuit Le Castellet with the trio of Markus Reiterberger, Bastien Mackels and Lukas Pesek. Pedro Vallcaneras is free to race for another team if he wishes to do so.

Markus Reiterberger

Rider

"Today we set up our BMW S 1000 RR for top speed and power and I am happy with the time I did. I did not expect to brake into the 1:57s but in the end missed the 56s only by fractions. I could use my Qualifying tire at the maximum and recorded a top speed of 327 km/h on the Mistral straight which was quite a lot of fun. I think we have everything in place for tomorrows 24 hours race, the final one of this year’s FIM Endurance World Championship season and of course we want to finish that one with the best possible result.”

Bastien Mackels

Rider

"Well, to be honest I had hoped to get under the 2 minute barrier today but this wasn’t quite possible. The good thing is, that I can lap those times on race tires on a constant base and I think the pace will be around that marker during the race. I am looking forward to tomorrow, now we just need to get some proper sleep and then will give our all to make everyone proud who is crossing it’s fingers for us."

Lukas Pesek

Rider

"I am really happy that I will do the race, because this will be my first experience in the Endurance World Championship. I could further improve my time today which came on race tires, but I am not satisfied with the time I did. Because we changed the suspension and engine brake setup for the shoot out today I wasn’t feeling too good on the bike, it just didn’t suit my riding style. But I am confident that tomorrow will be better as we are going to return to yesterday’s setup on our BMW S 1000 RR. I am so looking forward to the race.”

Pedro Vallcaneras

Rider

"I feel sorry I won’t be riding in the race but I accept the decision of the team. I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to come here and do the practice and qualifying sessions. I also thank Rico and the whole team to release me to ride the Bol d’Or for another team if they wish to have me participating. This decision has to wait until after tomorrow’s Warmup session, but for sure – in any case – I will cross my fingers for my BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com."

Rico Penzkofer

Team Principal

"Reiti – what a son of a gun! We expected he could improve quite a lot on a Qualifying tyre and with a different setup today but he’s been much faster than anyone else, even those knowing the track like the back of their hand. I am satisfied that all of our four riders were able to improve their pace today and we think we are well prepared for tomorrow’s race. Now it is not in our hands anymore: I think there will happen a lot of unforeseen things on course of the 24 hours race here but we will give our all – our riders on track and our staff in the pits. Just lets hope for some luck.”



More, from a press release issued by Yamaha-Racing.com:

Yamaha Qualify Second and Third for Bol d'Or Endurance Showdown

The Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) and GMT94 Yamaha have positioned themselves as key protagonists for the final round of the 2015 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) at Circuit Paul Ricard. They gave their all today in a tense qualifying session and will start the 79th edition of the 24-hour Bol d'Or race from second and third place respectively.

The officially supported Yamaha teams already showed their YZF-R1s' tremendous potential during yesterday's first qualifying practice, when they secured second and third and duplicated their strong results today.

Broc Parkes was the first rider to head out on track aboard the number 7 YZF-R1 in qualifying practice two. The Australian was quick to set a low 2'00 lap for seventh place and was looking to set a fast lap until almost seven minutes into the twenty-minute session a red flag-situation occurred. Once the session was restarted Parkes gradually upped his pace again and became the third rider to drop under the 1'59 mark in the first riders' session with a 1'58.799 for third place, 1.546s from the rider in first place.

Second rider Max Neukirchner was next and quickly rose to the top when he dropped a 1'59.407. He held on to provisional pole for the remainder of the session, whilst continuously improving his times as the pace quickened. He ended the session with a best lap of 1'58.209, with a 0,880s advantage over his closest rival, before handing the bike over to the third rider.

Iván Silva suffered a crash on Wednesday during the Bol d'Or free practice session and is unable to compete in this weekend's race. Sheridan Morais filled in for the Spaniard and soon set a 2'00.275 for fourth, but with twelve minutes on the clock the qualifying practice session was red flagged for a second time. However, the South African was unfazed and showed great riding skills when he returned to action, posting the third fastest time of 1'58.464, 1.082s from the front.

Reigning World Champion, GMT94 Yamaha, has only one goal this weekend; defend their EWC title by winning the race. With no qualifying tyre available to them, they continued their very successful strategy of focusing solely on the race set-up during qualifying practice and were able to make another big step today despite challenges along the way.

First rider David Checa was quick to drop under the two-minutes barrier, with a 1'59.759 lap, but soon encountered a minor human error, which affected the electronics. After two laps he brought the bike back to the pits, but was unable to rejoin the first riders' qualifying session and finished in seventh place, 2.506s off the lead in the classification.

It took the team 30 minutes to mend the bike, forcing Kenny Foray to make a late start to the second rider session. Eager to make up for lost time he clocked a seventh fastest lap to post a 1'59.519 and move up to fourth place in the final minute, leaving him 1.310s behind the second riders' group leader.

Mathieu Gines took over the number 94 YZF-R1 from his teammate and despite a short interruption of the third rider session, he ended the day on a high. He carried a blistering pace and set a 1'57.841 to take second place in the third rider session, 0.459s from first.

Combined the YART team members rode an average time of 1'58.490 and scored second place in the combined qualifying sessions classification, 0.212s from pole. GMT94 is not far behind in third position, having rode an average time of 1'58.887, 0.609s from the front.

After today's positive results, both teams look forward to tomorrow when the 24 hours of non-stop racing action will start at 3pm local track time.

Broc Parkes - Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) rider

"We all did a good job today and we are feeling good with the bike. There was a lot of traffic on the track and on my stint I didn't get in one completely clear lap. Other than that it went really good. The team and the riders have worked really hard on the set-up of the bike and the tank to improve fuel consumptions, so we can stay out on track longer, which will be important for the race. I think this is the best position we have ever been in, with all three riders being this fast, and I hope we can get the victory tomorrow."

Mandy Kainz – Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) Team Manager

"This season we were always contenders for the position, because we were always quite close to the times of the fastest team. They had a small margin on us in Le Mans, we had an advantage over them in Oschersleben, and today they are slightly in front again. Unfortunately our team has not been very lucky this season, but our focus is not the qualifying, because there aren't any points to be won with it. We struggled with one of our regular riders getting injured in the free practice and we will have to manage to complete the race with Max and Shez [Sheridan Morais], who are not a 100 per cent fit. Both of them are still struggling due to lingering injuries from earlier crashes. I hope that we will find a good set-up, that the riders are happy and we are looking forward to a good race."

David Checa – GMT94 Yamaha rider

"Qualifying went really well yesterday. We finished third and we had the possibility to finish second, but it's quite hard to get the pole without the option to ride with qualifying tyres. We encountered a small technical mistake with the bike and that made it impossible for me to improve my time. Though I could only complete two laps we still got third position on the grid, whilst our main rival is in fifth place, so that's positive for us. We will do our best in the race tomorrow and we'll see what result comes out at the end."

Christophe Guyot – GMT94 Yamaha Team Manager

"I'm very happy because we have a good pace and are very fast. Dunlop doesn't have qualifying tyres and we finished as the first team on Dunlop tyres. We may have lost second place or even pole because of a small mistake we made with the electronics. This cost us half an hour because it wasn't possible to keep riding and fixing it took up most of David's and Kenny's stints. As a result we could only improve the set-up whilst Mathieu was riding and he set a very fast lap time. We are third on the grid, which is a good position and our pace is very strong for tomorrow's race. We are using a very safe configuration for the engine and we are still very fast, so we are in a position that we can try to win the race."




More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

SUZUKI DEBUTS NEW ANNIVERSARY LIVERY AT THE BOL D’OR

Suzuki Endurance Racing Team will race in a new and striking anniversary livery at tomorrow’s final round of the Endurance World Championship, the Bol d’Or 24-Hour race, at Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of France.

The current world championship leaders have painted the team’s GSX-R1000 in the classic light-blue-and-white racing colour-scheme for its home round to celebrate 30 years of Suzuki’s class-leading GSX-R range of machinery; and also in celebration of 35 years of Dominique Meliand’s legendary Le Mans-based team.

Following yesterday’s preliminary practice and opening qualifying sessions, the 13-time World Champions positioned fifth in today’s final combined times as less-than-a-second separated the top seven teams at the picturesque 5.8 km Le Castellet circuit on the Marseilles coastline that features a 1.8-km-long, 320 kph flat-out straight.

SERT riders Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Etienne Masson go into tomorrow’s race with a 23-point advantage over Yamaha GMT94, but as the event is run over 24 hours, the points awarded differ to previous races such as the Suzuka 8-Hour event in Japan and the Oschersleben 8-Hour race in Germany: With total of 60 points up for grabs - 40 for the race winner, plus 10 bonus-points for the leader at the eighth and 16th hours – in theory the series could be won by any of three EWC teams; SERT, Yamaha GMT94 and Bolliger Switzerland Kawasaki (55 points behind). However, adding to the excitement of the series finale, reigning Superstock World Cup Champions and current Superstock class leaders Junior Team LMS Suzuki, currently fourth in the overall points, could make history; an outside chance, but a possibility of turning the series on its head as the Le Mans-based team – who work from the same headquarters as SERT - has scored 54 points to date, despite missing Suzuka as there was no Superstock class; and are 56-points behind leaders SERT.

Today’s qualifying saw Philippe set a time of 1:59.762 to give him fourth overall in his session, as SRC Kawasaki topped the timesheets. Delhalle went faster in the second session with a 1:59.332 to place him third behind Monster YART, while Masson put-in a best-lap of 1:59.772 for sixth position in his session, again topped by the SRC Kawasaki.

Combined, SERT’s time is 1:59.551 with pole-setters SRC Kawasaki on 1:58.278. SERT also has Australian Damian Cudlin – its 2014 permanent team member – back onboard this weekend as its fourth and reserve rider; and he set a very respectable time of 2:01.468 for fourth position in his qualifying session.

Junior Team LMS riders Baptise Guittet, Gregg Black and Romain Maitre put their GSX-R1000 into second position in the Superstock class with a combined time of 2:00.274 and will start tomorrow’s 79th edition of the Bol d’Or from eighth position on the grid.

Following tomorrow’s warm-up at 11:35hrs (local time) the Bol d’Or 24-Hour will commence at 15:00hrs.

Full race Live Timing will be on the FIM Endurance website www.fimewc.com along with Eurosport Satellite TV and Eurosport Player.