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Sep 22, 2011

Team BMW Motorrad France 99 Fastest In First Qualifying Session At Le Mans

Cameron Donald (77) on the Honda TT Legends CBR1000RR.
BMW Motorrad France 99 faster and faster!

Monster Yamaha YART back on pace

BMW Motorrad France 99 put the hammer down from the first 24 Hours of Le Mans qualifying session, fourth round of the Qtel FIM Endurance World Championship. Erwan Nigon set a new qualification lap record in 1'36.950. With Sébastien Gimbert in 1'37.519 and Damian Cudlin in 1'38.224, BMW Motorrad France 99 put the Team on a very comfortable provisional pole position, based on the average lap times of their three riders.

This first qualifying session was also the occasion to see a great comeback from Monster Yamaha YART, now in the right pace. Igor Jerman, Steve Martin and Loris Baz (replacing rider Gwen Giabbani, injured), on 1'38's, managed to offer the Austrian Yamaha a provisional second place on the grid, ahead of the Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone of David Checa, Kenny Foray and Matthieu Lagrive, 1'37.834.

The Team SRC Kawasaki seems to face some difficulties and took fourth place in the first session, with Julien da Costa, Gregory Leblanc and Olivier Four. Maco Racing is just nearby the leaders on fifth place with Jason Pridmore, Greg Junod and Gregg Black. The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team is still in a recovery process with Anthony Delhalle, Daisaku Sakai and Baptiste Guittet, freshly borrowed for the race from the team Suzuki Junior LMS.

The Junior Team Suzuki clinched a great second Superstock position with Cédric Tangre, Julien Enjolras and Loïc Napoleone, ahead of the BMW of Van Zon Boenig Motorsportschool Penz13 RT of Grégory Fastré, Michal Filla and a very impressive Ari Vos. The Suzuki AM Moto Racing Compétition, who did well from the free practice, lost some ground as Anthony Loiseau crashed.

The second qualifying session is scheduled tomorrow Friday at 11 am on the Bugatti racetrack at Le Mans.

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

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

Honda TT Legends complete first qualifying at Le Mans 24-hour

The penultimate round of the 2011 Endurance World Championship got underway today with the Honda TT Legends securing 12th place on the provisional grid for this weekend's Le Mans 24-hour race.

Following a two-hour free practice this morning, John McGuinness, Keith Amor and Cameron Donald did one 30-minute stint each in the first qualifying session this afternoon. They took to the legendary French circuit along with 62 other teams, all competing to conquer the famous event. Donald was the quickest rider for the Honda TT Legends with a personal best lap time of 1:39.553.

In accordance with EWC rules, the combined average time of the three riders determines the provisional starting line-up. The final positions will be decided by the second and final qualifying session tomorrow. The Honda TT Legends will now take part in this evening's night practice, which runs from 21.00-22.15.

John McGuinness

It's tough out there. There are a lot of riders and everyone is pushing really hard. There are a lot of us doing similar speeds so when you look at the timesheets it can look disappointing when actually we are very consistent so I think we'll be ok for the race. It's a war not a battle and you've got to be there at the end. We'll try a few different things on the bike and hopefully we'll make a step forward tomorrow.

Keith Amor

I struggled a little bit to be honest. There was a lot of traffic out there and we had a few small issues but nothing we can't sort out. There are some things to work on to see which direction we're going to go in. Let's wait and see what happens tomorrow.

Cameron Donald

I'm happy with that, I set my personal best for Le Mans which is fantastic and shows that the boys are making headway with the bike. Every time I go out we are changing something and moving forward so it's exciting. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

The 24-hour race will run from 3pm (Central European Summer Time) on Saturday 24 September until 3pm (CEST) on Sunday 25 September.

For real-time news, videos and images throughout the event follow @HondaTTLegends on Twitter and for post-qualifying and race reports visit