More, from a press release issued by FIM EWC:
History repeated as BMW claims second EWC Bol d’Or pole in a row with lap record run
*German star Reiterberger is BMW team’s rapid rider at Circuit Paul Ricard
*Yoshimura SERT Motul and F.C.C. TSR Honda France second and third quickest
*Championship title chase remains wide open ahead of season decider
*Six bike manufacturers in top seven underlines highly competitive nature of EWC
*Frenchmen Foray and Arbel help Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team to Superstock pole
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is set to start the deciding round of the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship on pole position for the second season running, as Markus Reiterberger smashed his team-mate Illya Mykhalchyk’s Bol d’Or qualifying lap record from last season.
German Reiterberger rode his Dunlop-equipped BMW M 1000 RR to top spot at Circuit Paul Ricard in a time of 1m51.596s, which eclipsed the previous benchmark of 1m52.267s recorded by Ukrainian Mykhalchyk during his charge to pole 12 months ago.
With the starting order for EWC races decided by the average time of a team’s fastest two riders from First Qualifying, which took place on Thursday afternoon, and Second Qualifying, which ran this morning, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team came out on top of the overall order ahead of Yoshimura SERT Motul and F.C.C. TSR Honda France.
The five points Werner Daemen’s outfit scored for claiming pole puts it on 105 in the provisional standings, 36 behind leader and defending champion F.C.C. TSR Honda France. Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team remains in second but is now 14 points down on F.C.C. TSR Honda France after it could only manage fourth place in the combined classification.
“It’s nice to be here at this beautiful track,” said Reiterberger, who is also partnered by French rider Jérémy Guarnoni. “Yesterday we started on the soft race tyre and my lap time was already very good, I could do this lap time alone. Today I tried to find the slipstream and this helped me to gain another few tenths. I want to say thank you to the team because our bike is incredibly fast. Our plan was to catch the pole position and win the race, this is what we have to do to have a chance for the title. We are ready for the race.”
In the Dunlop Superstock Trophy, which counts for the FIM Endurance World Cup, there was more BMW success with Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team coming out on top ahead of championship stalwart National Motos Honda and Wójcik Racing Team after the times of Loïc Arbel and Kenny Foray were taken into account to determine the category polesitter.
“We need to win the take the title,” said Frenchman Foray. “It’s a 24-hour race and it’s really long but the objective is to win the race.”
With Jan Bühn ruled out of the Bol d’Or after injuring a hand and foot in Tuesday testing, Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team has yet to finalise its rider line-up for the 24-hour race, a task complicated when reserve rider Nelson Major crashed and badly damaged the #9 BMW during Second Qualifying.
In the FIM Endurance World Cup title battle, National Motos Honda moves into second place, four points behind Chromeburner-RAC41-Honda, which finished outside the top-five scoring positions. Honda No Limits, which was fifth quickest, slips to third, five points off the lead.
Meanwhile, the highly competitive nature of the EWC was underlined with six different manufacturers represented in the combined qualifying order as ERC Endurance Ducati took fifth and Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar seventh behind Yamaha-powered KM99. The top three in the Dunlop Superstock Trophy featured three different makes as National Motos Honda and Yamaha-equipped Wójcik Racing Team completed the provisional podium behind Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team.
Elsewhere, Honda Viltaïs Racing – the 2022 Bol d’Or winner – was eighth fastest overall followed by TATI Team Beringer Racing and Team Moto-Ain.
How Second Qualifying unfolded
As he had done on Thursday, Markus Reiterberger once again was unbeatable in the Blue Rider group, the German recording a 1m51.596s best for BWM Motorrad World Endurance Team. Gregg Black was second fastest for Yoshimura SERT Motul on a 1m51.636s with Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team’s Niccolo Canepà posting the third quickest time, 0.616s down on Reiterberger’s fastest effort. Lucas Mahias was fourth for KM99 followed by Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar’s Randy de Puniet and TATI Team Beringer Racing rider Randy Krummenacher, who is making his Bol d’Or debut this weekend. Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team’s Kenny Foray was quickest among the Dunlop Superstock Trophy contenders followed by Kamil Krezemień (Wójcik Racing Team) and Enzo de la Vega (Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore).
The Yellow Rider session had been running for less than four minutes when it was red-flagged following a crash for Axel Maurin at Turn 4. The Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore racer was uninjured but the session was delayed to enable FIM officials to check the track surface for oil. Once action resumed, Illya Mykhalchyk continued BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s strong form by topping the order in a time of 1m51.721s. Mike Di Meglio was second quickest, 0.300s behind Mykhalchyk, but fell on his final lap in his efforts to improve his time for F.C.C. TSR Honda France, albeit without injury. Sylvain Guintoli, who was the fastest Yellow Rider in First Qualifying, was third quickest for Yoshimura SERT Motul with Marvin Fritz (Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team) fourth. Xavi Forés was fifth for ERC Endurance Ducati followed by top independent runner Marcel Brenner, who took sixth for Team Bolliger Switzerland. Loïc Arbel was the quickest Dunlop Superstock Trophy rider for Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team. Loris Cresson was second in the FIM Endurance World Cup-counting category for BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers followed by Maxim Pellizotti (Pitlane Endurance – JP3).
Karel Haneka was the pacesetting Red Rider for Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team in a time of 1m51.882s. Étienne Masson (Yoshimura SERT Motul) was 0.259s adrift in second with Jérémy Guarnoni third quickest for BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. Steven Odendall clocked the fourth fastest time for the 2022 Bol d’Or winning Honda Viltaïs Racing team with Baptiste Guittet fifth for TATI Team Beringer Racing as Wójcik Racing Team’s Isaac Viñales rounded out the top six. Alessandro Delbianco, OG Motorsport World Endurance Team’s new recruit, was the quickest Dunlop Superstock Trophy rider, one place ahead of Wójcik Racing Team’s Kevin Manfredi. National Motos Honda rider Guillaume Raymond rounded out the Superstock top three. A crash involving Bastien Mackels (KM99) and Pedro Nuno Romero Barbosa (Team Bolliger Switzerland) caused the session to be halted after 10 minutes. Although neither rider was injured, repairs to the trackside protection resulted in a lengthy delay.
Cocoro Atusmi was quickest for Yoshimura SERT Motul in the Green Rider group in a time of 1m53.675s, 0.464s faster than Robin Mulhauser (Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team). French World Superbike star Loris Baz was third fastest for BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team with Pepijn Bijssterbosch next up for Team LRP Poland. Teenager Jurand Kuśmierczyk was fifth for Wójcik Racing Team and the quickest Dunlop Superstock Trophy contender.
First Qualifying Blue Rider: Markus Reiterberger, 1m51.890s
First Qualifying Yellow Rider: Sylvain Guintoli, 1m51.695s
First Qualifying Red Rider: Alan Techer, 1m51.707s
First Qualifying Green Rider: Loris Baz, 1m52.705s
Second Qualifying Blue Rider: Markus Reiterberger, 1m51.596s
Second Qualifying Yellow Rider: Illya Mykhalchyk, 1m51.721s
Second Qualifying Red Rider: Karel Hanika, 1m51.882s
Second Qualifying Green Rider: Cocoro Atsumi, 1m53.675s
WHAT’S NEXT? The 86th Bol d’Or 24-hour race is scheduled to begin at 15h00 CET tomorrow (Saturday 16 September).