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Sep 20, 2013

Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Secures Pole Position For 24 Hours Of Le Mans FIM Endurance World Championship Race

FIM Endurance World Championship: Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (1) in action at Le Mans. Photo by, courtesy of Suzuki.

FIM Endurance World Championship Le Mans, France September 20, 2013 Combined Qualifying Results (listed by best average times of all riders):

1. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe 1:37.258/Julien Da Costa 1:37.258/Alex Cudlin 1:39.116), Suz GSX-R1000, Superbike, 1:37.877

2. Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube (David Checa 1:37.722/Kenny Forey 1:38.512/Matthieu Lagrive 1:37.484), Yam YZF-R1, Superbike, 1:37.906

3. Team SRC Kawasaki (Gregory Leblanc 1:37.190/Fabien Foret 1:37.608/Axel Maurin 1:39.927), Superbike, Kaw ZX-10R, 1:38.241

4. Monster Energy Yamaha YART (Broc Parkes 1:37.917/Josh Hayes 1:38.974/Igor Jerman 1:39.513), Yam YZF-R1, Superbike, 1:38.801

5. BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent (Sebastien Gimbert 1:38.987/Sylvain Barrier 1:38.306/Jake Zemke 1:39.348), BMW S1000RR, Superbike, 1:38.880

6. FMA Assurances (Gregg Black 1:39.193/Matthieu Lussiana 1:39.739/Valentin Debise 1:38.865), Hon CBR1000RR, Superbike, 1:39.265

7. National Motos (Arturo Tizon Ibanez 1:38.737/Gregory Junod 1:39.645/Olivier Four 1:39.572), Hon CBR1000RR, Superbike, 1:39.318

8. Team Louit Moto 33 (Florian Marino 1:39.715/Lorenzo Savadori 1:39.149/Emeric Jonchiere 1:39.851), Kaw ZX-10R, Superstock, 1:39.571

9. Honda TT Legends (Michael Rutter 1:39.278/Simon Andrews 1:39.635/John McGuinness 1:39.910), Hon CBR1000RR, Superbike, 1:39.607

10. Team Motors Events April Moto (Gregory Fastre 1:39.768/Michael Savary 1:38.987/Claude Lucas 1:40.103), Suz GSX-R1000, Superstock, 1:39.619

18. Frankes Autowelt Racing Team (Jason Pridmore 1:39.569/Pedro Vallcaneras 1:40.957/Steve Mercer 1:40.552), BMW S1000RR, Superstock, 1:40.359

More, from a press release issued by FIM Endurance Press Office:

SERT takes pole position at 24 Hours of Le Mans ahead of Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube and SRC Kawasaki

Even without Anthony Delhalle, replaced by Alex Cudlin following an injury, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team has confimred its pole position on the starting grid of the 24 Hours of Le Mans motorcycling race this weekend. So far, Vincent Philippe and Julien Da Costa have been remarkably consistent aboard the Suzuki #1. The two riders clocked up best laps within a thousandth of a second of each other in 1’37.258. Following a best lap in 1’39.116 by Alex Cudlin, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team squeaked ahead of Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube. On the French Yamaha, David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive all upped their times significantly today, wresting second place on the starting grid from Team SRC Kawasaki despite today’s best individual lap by Gregory Leblanc and a better showing by Axel Maurin aboard the Kawasaki #11. A crash without serious consequences left Fabien Foret no chance to improve his times of yesterday on the SRC Kawasaki.

We can expect a close-fought three-way battle among the leaders, not only among three manufacturers but also among three tyre makers, with Dunlop in pole ahead of Michelin and Pirelli. The top 5 on the grid is made up by Monster Energy Yamaha YART and BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent, who say that they have been working more for the race than for a place on the grid.

The most improved times of the day belong to two Hondas. FMA Assurances with Gregg Black, Matthieu Lussiana and Valentin Debise and National Motos ridden by Arturo Tizon, Greg Junod and Olivier Four, are now in 6th and 7th position just ahead of the first Superstock, the Kawasaki of Louit Moto 33. This private Kawasaki has also shaved quite a bit off its times as is the case with several Superstock teams. Le Team Motors Events April Moto (Suzuki), AM Moto Racing Compétition (Suzuki) and DG Sport Herock (Yamaha) can therefore savour the chance to start on the grid ahead of category pre-race favourite the Junior Team LMS Suzuki.

The first 56 teams in the standings at the end of these two qualifying sessions will be able to take part in this 36th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Motorcycling Race. The pits will be open at the end of the afternoon this Friday to give the fans a chance to visit their favourite teams. The start will be given tomorrow, Saturday at 15 h.

More, from a press release issued by Honda TT Legends:

Top ten start for Honda TT Legend at Le Mans

The Honda TT Legends team will start the 2013 24 Heures Moto at Le Mans in the top ten following the second qualifying session at the legendary French circuit today. Michael Rutter, Simon Andrews, John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop took to the 4.185km track for 20-minutes each. Rutter and Dunlop bettered yesterday’s times, both posting a 1.39:2 lap, however a small issue with set up meant that Andrews and McGuinness were unable to improve. The new combined average time of 1.39:707 places the team ninth in the starting line-up ahead of tomorrow’s 24-hour race. The team and riders remain upbeat ahead of the race and are determined to bring home a strong result. The final three-man line-up will be decided overnight and announced following tomorrow’s morning warm-up, before the race begins at 15.00 CET. Neil Tuxworth – team manager In general, qualifying has gone very well for us here and although we’ve had one or two minor problems that we need to address before the race, we’re confident that we can deal with them effectively. The performance of all the riders has been of a good level with very little difference in their lap times. We will now decide not only who will be in the final three-rider line up for the race but also the order in which they will run and who will be the lead rider to start the race. It’s particularly difficult as any three are capable of bringing home a good result. John McGuinness It didn’t go as well as it could have today but as we always say with the 24-hour races, your starting position is not overly important. What is important is consistency and having three riders all lapping at similar times, which is exactly what we have. On top of that we have a good feeling and we’re all hungry for it, so I just hope we get the result I believe we deserve. Michael Rutter I was pretty happy with my performance today as I managed to go a bit quicker. The weather is improving and I think we have a laid the groundwork to get a strong result in the race. All we can do now is try our best and see what tomorrow brings. Simon Andrews After watching Rutter’s improvement and with the sun coming out, I was looking forward to getting on the bike and putting a good lap together to improve our time. Unfortunately, we had a small issue that meant I had to switch to the second bike mid-session and we weren’t able to break out of the mid-pack. Either way, top ten is fine for EWC as it’s a long race and anything can happen.

Michael Dunlop It’s not been perfect today but we have definitely made progress. It’s all about compromise and that means you may not always be 100% happy but if it’s working for everyone it’s good. After being here all week we’re ready to get going and get the race started.

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Fance Team Thevent:

Le Mans, France - 20 September 2013: The #99 S1000RR of BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent will start tomorrow's 24 Heures Moto at Le Mans from fifth position on the grid.

The team's four riders - Sébastien Gimbert, Sylvain Barrier, Jake Zemke and Josh Waters - opted not to use the speed advantage of the BMW S1000RR to push for pole position in qualifying, preferring instead to focus on refining the set-up of the bike in race trim ahead of tomorrow's EWC season finale. Barrier posted the fastest lap of the weekend aboard the #99 BMW S1000RR, with a time of 1'38.558 securing him fourth place in his 20-minute qualifying session. Gimbert finished his qualifying session in sixth, with a time of 1'38.987.

Zemke, who has never raced at Le Mans before, and Waters, who only threw a leg over the bike for the first time on Thursday morning, have both made impressive progress. The American posted a time of 1'39.348 to finish seventh in his qualifying group, while the Australian ended his 20-minute session second, with a time of 1'39.358.

The 24 Heures Moto gets underway with the traditional "Le Mans" style start at 15H00 tomorrow and, after achieving their goals in practice and qualifying, BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent go into the race confident of ending their 2013 Endurance World Championship campaign on a high note.

Jake Zemke (USA) // 1'39.348 // @jakezemke "Apart from my brief outing at the Bol d'Or earlier this season, this is my first time on a Superbike for almost two years. I'm starting to feel more comfortable with both the bike, which is easy to ride, and the Michelin tyres, although I was around a second off where I wanted to be yesterday. Today I continued to improve, but my goal was to break into the 1'38 bracket in qualifying, which I got close to but didn't quite manage. Endurance racing is very different from what I'm used to. You have to work closely with your teammates to ensure the bike works for all of you and, with the pit stops so critical over 24-hours, it brings the team much more into play as well. This builds a close knit team, which I'm enjoying being a part of here at Le Mans."

Josh Waters (AUS) // 1'39.358 // @Joshwaters21 "It's great to be here and I'm really appreciative of the chance I've been given by the team. I was a bit down in the dumps earlier in the week, but now I have a chance to show what I can do and I'm looking forward to doing that. It's the first time I've ever ridden the BMW, and I haven't had so much track time on it so far, but I think we're pretty much there for the race. It's hard to judge exactly where we are from qualifying. Of course, the leading two teams were fast, and we know they're going to be strong, but their times today were done on qualifying tyres, so we won't know what their true pace is until the race tomorrow."

Volker Scheck: Team Principal "All too often in the past we've gone all out in qualifying, only to go into the race and find we're missing something in race trim. This time we've approached things differently, focussing more on setting the bike up to work with the race tyres and ensuring it's not too demanding physically on the riders. It means we've had to accept qualifying a little further down the order than we would normally expect to be, but we're confident that this approach will pay dividends for us in the race this weekend. The team is working well with everyone, regardless of role, striving for the same goal. The four riders have also done a good job throughout practice and qualifying, which means selecting the three that will actually start the race is going to be tough. We'll make the final decision after warm up tomorrow, when we'll also decide which rider will take the start."

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

Suzuki Endurance Racing Team has remained on Pole for tomorrow's Le Mans 24-Hour World Endurance final round in France after improving its overall combined time to 1:37.877 in today's final qualifying at the Circuit Bugatti.

The 12-times World Endurance Champions, who are without team rider Anthony Dehalle this weekend following his injury earlier in the week, topped the timesheets by less-than 100th-of-a-second from Yamaha France GMT 94; who significantly improved their overall time from yesterday's opening sessions.

SERT's Vincent Philippe and Julien Da Costa secured better individual lap-times of the day with a 1:37.258 each; as team-mate Alex Cudlin remaining on the same 1:39.116 lap time.

Third place on the start will be taken by yesterday's runner-up SRC Kawasaki, buoyed by Gregory Leblanc's fastest individual lap-time of the sessions (1:37.190). Monster Energy YART - joined by AMA Superbike contender Josh Hayes for the event - secured fourth ahead of BMW Motorrad France.

Suzuki's Team R2CL- who currently holds four-equal in the World Endurance Championship class - finished the day in 12th position, but ahead of podium rivals Bolliger Team Switzerland. R2CL riders Guy Martin, Dylan Buisson and Gwen Giabbani recorded a combined time of 1:39.674; Giabbani lapping the fastest at 1:38.205.

Suzuki interest remains high in the Superstock class with three GSX-R1000-mounted teams in the top four; and three teams capable of lifting the Superstock title at Le Mans: Behind Superstock class pole-setters Team Louit Moto 33 (Kawasaki) is Team Motors Events, AM Moto Racing and Junior Team LMS - who are all separated by less than 500th-of-a-second.

Tomorrow's 36th 24 Heurs Moto Le Mans gets underway at 15:00hrs (GMT +2) and will be covered live on FIM-LIVE.COM where there will also be a live Twitter feed. The race is also being broadcast by several global Satellite TV Stations, in part and delayed.

Le Mans Final Qualifying Result: 1 SERT - Philippe/ Da Costa/ Cudlin - (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 1:37.877, 2 Yamaha France GMT 94 (Yamaha) 1:37.906, 3 Team SRC Kawasaki (Kawasaki) 1:38.241, 4 Monster Energy YART (Yamaha) 1:38.801, 5 BMW Motorrad France (BMW) 1:38.880, 6 FMA Assurances (Honda) 1:39.265, 7 National Motos (Honda) 1:39.318, 8 Team Louit Moto 33 (Kawasaki) 1:39.571, 9 Honda TT Legends (Honda) 1:39.607, 10 Team Motors Event - Fastre/ Savery/ Lucas - (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 1:39.619, 11 AM Moto Racing - Loiseau/ Maitre/ Hardt - (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 1:39.631, 12 Team R2CL - Martin/ Buisson/ Giabbani - (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 1:39.674.

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