More, from a press release issued by Eurosport Events:
INCREDIBLE DUEL BETWEEN YOSHIMURA SERT MOTUL AND YART–YAMAHA OFFICIAL EWC TEAM AT LE MANS
The factory Suzuki and Yamaha teams have been fighting an amazing duel practically since the start of the 24 Heures Motos. F.C.C. TSR Honda France are 4 laps behind, ahead of Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar and Bolliger Team Switzerland.
8 hours into the race, Yoshimura SERT Motul and YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team are continuing their duel in the lead. After a botched start, Karel Hanika quickly took the Yamaha #7 back into the lead. After several hours of a thrilling duel on track, Yoshimura SERT Motul wrested a slight lead of a few seconds with Sylvain Guintoli posting the fastest race lap, a 1:36.904.
The duel extends to the points. The two teams are neck and neck with 14 points each from the points awarded for the top 5 positions on the grid and the top 10 positions 8 hours into the race.
No other team has been able to match the pace set from the start by the two leaders. 8 hours into the race, F.C.C. TSR Honda France are defending their 3rd place 4 laps behind the leaders ahead of Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar, slowed down at the start by a problem with their brakes.
Bolliger Team Switzerland, who gave a muted performance in qualifying and started from 19th on the grid, had an excellent start to the race and are lapping in 5th place.
The increasingly high-performance Superstocks are grouped together from 6th place down. National Motos (Honda) are currently leading the class. But BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers, who led the Superstock class for quite a while, are in the same lap. The Kawasaki team had to return to the pit box after a crash during warm up and then lost their place as leader once again following another crash late in the afternoon.
OG Motorsport by Sarazin (Yamaha) and Slider Endurance (Yamaha) are close behind. And there are 4 other Superstock bikes in the Top 15: Team 33 Louit April Moto, Energie Endurance 91, No Limits Motor Team and Junior Team LMS Suzuki.
In 10th place at 8pm, le BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team are riding flat out to make it back to the head of the field. After getting the holeshot, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team crashed and then had several mechanical issues.
Similar problems are being faced by ERC Endurance-Ducati, who are 15th in the rankings at 8pm following a crash.
An action-packed start to the race
In the very early stages, there was a crash involving three teams on the Dunlop turn – Wójcik Racing Team, RAC41 ChromeBurner and Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore.
Some other favourites were not spared. Tati Team Beringer Racing, who were racing with the front-runners early on, plummeted to the bottom of the rankings after fuel leak problems and two crashes. VRD Igol Experiences had a problem with an oil hose joint and then crashed. The two teams are lapping beyond 20th place as of early evening.
Other teams were forced to withdraw after a fantastic start to the race. The withdrawals include Moto Ain, 3ART Best of Bike and LRP Poland in the EWC class and Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore, RAC41 ChromeBurner and Aviobike among the Superstock contenders.