May 21, 2011
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SERT's Daisaku Sakai (1).
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team in pole position at Albacete ahead of BMW Motorrad France 99 and Monster Yamaha YART
The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team took the pole position for the 8 Hours of Albacete, second round of the Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship, of which the start will be given later on at 6 pm. Vincent Philippe, Freddy Foray and Daisaku Sakai took everything in their hands this morning from the second qualifying session. Outperformed yesterday by their competitors, the ten times world champion team finally found the proper settings and the race now promises to be highly disputed.
The first three teams on the starting grid are only separated by a small margin. BMW Motorrad France 99 took the second place with SÃ©bastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon and Hugo Marchand, despite a few troubles with their rear wheel. The Monster YART Yamaha of Igor Jerman, Steve Martin and Gwen Giabbani will start the race from third position, but unfortunately, it will be on their spare bike since Gwen Giabbani crashed the first one this morning at the end of the qualifying session.
Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone stays in ambush behind the top three. David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive are also aiming a spot on the podium. On the Honda TT Legends, Steve Plater, John McGuinness and Keith Amor are nearly in the favourite's pace. With a fifth place on the starting grid, the newcomers are in the right rhythm.
The BMW Van Zon Boenig Motorsportschool Penz13 RT also made great progress. Werner Daemen, GrÃ©gory FastrÃ© and Michael Filla took the sixth place on the starting grid. They lead the Superstock class and will start ahead of the Yamaha Maco Racing Team and the Honda National Motos.
AM Moto Racing CompÃ©tition (Suzuki) improved their lap times during the second qualifying session and will start from ninth position (2nd Superstock), ahead of the Spanish Yamaha from YMES Folch Endurance, the Suzuki of Team Motor Events Bodyguard AMT, the Yamaha DG Sport and the BMW Mas.
Outside of the top 10 is the Kawasaki Bolliger Team Switzerland, still struggling with some chassis setup. The warm up, scheduled at 3 pm, will be the last opportunity for them to find the solution. The start of the 8 Horas Nocturnas of Albacete will be given at 6 pm.
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More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team will start today's 2nd round of the World Endurance Championship at Albacete in Spain from Pole Position after team rider Vincent Philippe set a time of 1:30.409 in this morning's second and final qualifying sessions.
Fourth in yesterday's opening Qualifying, Philippe was fastest in his Q2 session and, coupled to team riders' Freddy Foray's second place in his session (1:31.534) and Daisaku Sakai's win (1:31.212), the reigning World Champions took the overall by just 0.02-of-a-second ahead of BMW Motorrad France 99 and Monster Yamaha - YART.
The '8 Horas Nocturnas of Albacete' starts at 6pm local time today and finishes at 2am Sunday morning.
More, from a press release issued by Honda TT Legends:
Honda TT Legends to start the Albacete eight-hour from fifth
The Honda TT Legends completed the second qualifying session at Albacete, Spain this morning with a combined time of 1:32.436 to secure a fifth place start in tonight's race two places up from the team's grid position at the Bol d'Or.
John McGuinness showed the most improvement, posting his fastest ever time around the Circuito Albacete. The Isle of Man TT winner demonstrated his pace with a 1:32.463 lap, ending his 30-minute stint in seventh. For teammate Steve Plater, the focus was on riding with a full tank on race tyres, however he still finished his session third fastest.
Third rider Keith Amor was the last of the Honda TT Legends to head out on track. The Scotsman also set his quickest lap time yet before a minor crash forced him to retire from the session. The combined average time of all three riders means the team will start the race from fifth on the grid.
Steve Plater will do the first stint of the "8-horas of Albacete" for the Honda TT Legends. The race will begin at 6pm local time follow @HondaTTLegends on Twitter for real-time updates.
Neil Tuxworth, team manager
It's been another successful qualifying session for the team particularly John and Keith who both managed to improve on their times. Unfortunately Keith suffered a minor crash and was unable to finish his session but he had just posted a fast lap so it didn't have too much of an effect on the overall time. We've ended up in fifth, which is two places higher than we qualified at the first round, so we have to be happy with that. I think we are in a good position and hopefully we can get in the top four tomorrow, if not on the podium.
I'm happy with the final position. I wasn't thinking about having to go faster today, it was more a case of trying a full tank of fuel with a new set of race tyres to make sure everything is working well for the start of the race. John and Keith both went a little bit quicker than yesterday so we held our position, which is perfect. The weather's looking good and we'll aim for a nice steady start and hopefully hold the pace up at the front.
I'm pleased with my time today and overall we're only a second or so off the leaders. It took me a few laps to get my confidence back after the fall yesterday so we just eased in to it, then got some clear track and did a couple of 32s, which is a good lap time. If we can do those in the race consistently then we won't be far away. As we've said before, grid position is not as important in endurance racing. Steve's going to go first and he is on it on the race tyres. I'm looking forward to it the sun is shining, the bike's good, we've worked hard to get a good race package so fingers crossed we can make a decent start and hang in there lap after lap. I've every confidence in the team in terms of slick pit stops so I don't think we'll be a million miles away.
That was not an ideal session for me. Unfortunately when I was pushing for a lap time, I leant the bike over too far at the hairpin and slid slowly into the gravel trap. Thankfully the bike wasn't too badly damaged and I managed to get it back to the pits. I was really enjoying myself up until that point, I was starting to get into it and I'd done my fastest lap. Fifth is still good and hopefully the Steve and John will be able to be up at the front in the race.