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May 19, 2017

World Endurance: GMT94 Yamaha On Pole Position For 8 Hours Of Oschersleben

GMT94 Yamaha's David Checa (94).


GMT94 Yamaha will start from pole tomorrow (Saturday) at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, the 3rd round of the FIM EWC 2016-2017, ahead of YART Yamaha Official EWC Team and Team LRP Poland.

GMT94 Yamaha reaffirmed its position as leader on the starting grid of the 8 Hours of Oschersleben. Together with David Checa and Mike Di Meglio, Niccolò Canepa was the hero of the day, posting a 1’26.872 lap – the best individual time of the two qualifying sessions, and the only one under the 1’27 mark.

GMT94 Yamaha took top spot on the starting grid, ahead of YART Yamaha Official EWC Team’s Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Kohta Nozane. The Austrian Yamaha finished less than a half-second behind the French R1, which presages a fresh duel during the race. After two consecutive wins at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, GMT94 Yamaha is obviously aiming for a hat-trick.

Third spot on the grid goes to the remarkable Team LRP Poland on BMW, with riders Markus Reiterberger, Lukas Trautmann and Dominik Vincon. They will be the challengers to watch in this race.

Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, in 4th place, is also be a strong contender. Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Alex Cudlin will be able to draw on their solid experience during the race.

Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences goes on the offensive

After holding its fire yesterday, Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences went in all guns blazing on qualifying tyres today to wrest back control of the Superstock class. Bastien Mackels, Florian Alt and Axel Maurin took the Yamaha #333 to 5th spot on the starting grid, ahead of seasoned EWC squads like F.C.C. TSR Honda and Bolliger Team Switzerland. They also got the upper hand over two ambitious Superstock teams: Völpker NRT48 Schubert Motors by ERC and Moto Ain CRT.

Honda Endurance Racing will start the race from 10th place.

An eventful qualifying session

The timed Q2 witnessed a number of minor crashes in the ranks of the top teams. Mike Di Meglio (GMT94 Yamaha) took a spill, as did Marvin Fritz (YART Yamaha Official EWC Team), Lukas Trautmann (Team LRP Poland), Alex Cudlin (Suzuki Endurance Racing Team), Florian Alt (Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences) and Osamu Deguchi (Eva RT Webike Trick Star).

The riders will be back on the track in the morning tomorrow (Saturday) for the warm-up, starting from 9am CEST. The 8 Hours of Oschersleben will be flagged off at 2pm tomorrow, with a night finish at 10pm.

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

Tough start for Honda Endurance Racing at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben

8 Hours of Oschersleben

Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, Germany

It’s been a tough start for Honda’s endurance specialists Freddy Foray, Julien Da Costa and Sébastien Gimbert, who will start the 8 Hours of Oschersleben from tenth place tomorrow (Saturday 20 May), after final qualifying took place earlier today.

With changeable track conditions at the 3.667km German circuit, the Honda Endurance Racing team is finding the cooler temperatures of today more beneficial for the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, than the higher temperatures experienced in yesterday’s practice and qualifying sessions.

During the final qualifying session this morning the team pushed hard with Foray third fastest in his session. The squad secured a best lap time of 1:28.509, which sees them tenth on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

The 8 Hours of Oschersleben takes place tomorrow, Saturday 20 May, with the race getting underway at 2pm CEST.

For live updates throughout the race follow @HondaRacingCBR on Twitter.

Freddy Foray 111

Well so far it has been difficult for us here in Germany, we are trying everything we can to make improvements so we just have to ride and try to understand the bike a little – it’s still a new machine to us, so every session at the moment we are learning. I think after this morning and if the weather stays cooler then we can have good race pace, and look to finish in the top-five. In EWC it’s not always the fastest team who has the best result. This morning was good, we made improvements and for me, of course it’s good to finish in the top-three. So for now we have to let the team do the work to the CBR and see what the race brings.

Julien Da Costa 111

Well, as we expected after Le Mans it’s not easy to be in the front, but we have found some good improvements with the Fireblade and we will continue with this into the race tomorrow. The team is working hard to find a solution with the corner exit and I know that we have the best team working to help us improve. For the moment all we can do is study, we are doing our own race and not focusing too much on the front, but for sure we can do something. This morning in the damp conditions I sat out of the session as had some inflammation to my wrist, so decided after my lap times yesterday we wouldn’t improve, so best to rest the wrist in preparation for the race tomorrow.

Sébastien Gimbert 111

Well P10 I am not completely happy with, but then I always want to be at the front and to win! We are struggling with corner exit, but I know that the team is working on this and they will hopefully be able to come up with a solution for tomorrow. For the race we need to work together as riders and with our laps times here I think we are able to finish in the top-five. We are still learning with the new bike, but we are making progress, so it’s not all bad, I would perhaps like for us to be faster learners! You know, but this is endurance and although qualifying is important it’s the race results that speak, so we just need to focus on tomorrow and see what we can produce over the eight hours.

Jonny Twelvetrees

Team Manager

Tenth place isn’t really where we’d hoped to qualify and we are struggling with a few issues, mainly getting the acceleration and drive out of corners, which was a little unexpected. The team are working on the engine spec and getting this in line with the electronics, which is where I think we will see the improvements. We have made steps forward today and we do have some more things for the final practice tomorrow. Our overall pace is good and the riders are pushing hard, but the peak pace isn’t as fast as we’d all like, but I think come the race we will be able to push though – we are showing good fuel economy, so I know that will work in our favour. Tomorrow the forecast is for mixed weather, and the Fireblade seems to be more competitive in cooler conditions, so we are hoping that the temperatures stay low!

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Yamaha secure 1-2 in Qualifying at Oschersleben

The GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC and YART Yamaha Official EWC teams have both shown their potential over two days of qualifying for the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, round three of the 2017 FIM Endurance World Championship, by securing a Yamaha 1-2 at the top of the combined timesheets. The two teams have been virtually inseparable all weekend, and it was the same on Friday as GMT94 Yamaha secured pole position for Saturday's race by just 0.435s. Their rivals in the YART Yamaha team pushed them all the way in practice and qualifying, but had to settle for second, and everything is set up now for an epic battle between the two on Saturday.

The GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team of David Checa, Niccoló Canepa and Mike Di Meglio got straight into their rhythm on Thursday morning, finishing practice in third with a 1:27.173. If that served as a marker, Thursday afternoon's qualifying session in warm and sunny conditions showcased just how competitive they can be at Oschersleben on the Yamaha YZF-R1 after the team ended the three sessions in provisional pole on average times. It was French rider Di Meglio who set the fastest time for the team on Thursday with a 1:27.196, whilst Checa & Canepa maintained this pace to record an average lap of 1:27.399.

After topping the night practice session, even overnight rain could not put them off, Di Meglio going out on Friday morning and setting the fastest time of the weekend, a 1:26.872. In the process, he became the only rider to break the 1:27 barrier in qualifying after benefiting from the use of a new tyre donated by his teammate Checa, who cleverly used an older tyre to allow him to rubber in the track first. As a result of this teamwork they managed to set an average best time of 1:27.158, securing top spot by the biggest margin of the weekend, 0.476s, despite a small crash for Di Meglio at the end of his qualifying session. The team will now look to carry this pace into Saturday's race in an effort to close the 24-point gap to the championship leader in the standings.

The YART Yamaha Official EWC Team of Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Kohta Nozane also hit the ground running, finishing practice in second with a 1.27.167 and just 0.007s ahead of the GMT94 riders. This set the scene for what was to come throughout Thursday and Friday, and there was hardly anything to separate the two Yamaha teams in each session. Sharing almost identical equipment apart from their tyres, with YART finding their track performance with partner Bridgestone. It was always going to be close, and in Thursday's qualifying Broc Parkes set a 1:27.292 to finish within a tenth of Di Meglio's time. Fritz and Nozane also put in impressive stints and the team finished Thursday in provisional second, just 0.235s behind the GMT team.

Friday's qualifying was a slightly different affair, taking place earlier in the morning and in chillier conditions. Having also chosen a harder tyre for the race and realising it would be almost impossible to beat their lap times from Thursday, the team decided not to risk too much on Friday. Parkes and Nozane spent their qualifying sessions in the garage, and only Fritz took to the track for a shake down of a new setting. With their average times unchanged from Thursday, they finished qualifying in second overall with an average best lap of 1.27.634. Despite not improving their times on Friday, the team are confident in the work they have done and feel confident that they can challenge for the win in Saturday's race.

The excellent rivalry between the two teams is set to continue when the 8 Hours of Oschersleben kicks off at 14:00pm local time in Germany on Saturday for round three of the 2017 FIM Endurance World Championship.

David Checa

GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team

"Yesterday was really hot so we used the time to focus on race pace. Unfortunately, it rained a lot last night, and we didn't know how the track would be today. After the rain, we knew we would have to rubber in the track today. As I was out first, I knew that Mike and Niccoló would be able to do a quicker time, so I used an old tyre and gave my new tyre to Niccoló. As you can see from the results, it worked, and the guys did a brilliant job. To secure pole position here is a great and I look forward to Saturday, but there is still a lot to do. It is great to get another Yamaha 1-2. We hope to win tomorrow, but we have to respect everyone and do our best, as we always do. The mechanics and whole team will give 100% and the target is to go out and win and to become world champions."

Christophe Guyot

GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team Manager

"This winter we worked a lot on little things, like the electronics, suspension, radiator, and it seems to have worked very well! A pole position is always gratifying for the confidence of the riders and for Dunlop, who are very much invested in the team and have worked closely with us. The relationship between the riders is perfect, all three riders take pleasure in working together. This is definitely the key to our good performance."

Broc Parkes

YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

"It's been a pretty good few days! Yesterday we just went with one set of tyres and went with the harder option. Therefore, we decided today that we couldn't improve enough to get pole position, so instead we focused on race pace and setup. I think for the race our tyre selection could be perfect, as they seem not to wear out and actually seem to get better and better as they get older, so they should be great for the long stints. Our rivalry with the GMT team is incredible! They are very strong here and have shown great consistency. However, in the race I feel we could be stronger once Marvin and Kohta have had a bit more time back on the bike. Whatever happens I think it will be a close race and I can't wait to get started."

Mandy Kainz

YART Yamaha Official EWC Team Manager

"We are quite happy with how qualifying went. In endurance racing it is sometimes more like an extra practice session. Yesterday we focused on race pace, today was all about saving tyres. We only use one set of race tyres and they are not good in the colder morning conditions, hence why we didn't really go out today to do any laps. Marvin went out briefly to do a shake down, unfortunately he had a small crash, but he was absolutely fine. The bike is in perfect condition, and we are feeling very competitive. We are in for another tight fight with the GMT94 team, but feel we are in good shape and we are looking forward to racing tomorrow."

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