World Endurance: Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance On Pole Position For 24 Hours Of Le Mans

World Endurance: Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance On Pole Position For 24 Hours Of Le Mans

© 2019, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. by David Swarts

FIM Endurance World Championship

24 Heures Motos/24 Hours of Le Mans

Bugatti Circuit

Le Mans, France

April 19, 2019

Combined Qualifying Results (rankings based on the average of each team’s riders’ best lap times):

1. Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance (Kenny Foray 1:36.232/Julian Da Costa 1:36.652/Mathieu Gines 1:36.909), BMW S1000RR, Pirelli, SBK, 1:36.597

2. YART – Yamaha (Broc Parkes 1:36.959/Marvin Fritz 1:36.336/Niccolo Canepa 1:36.581), Yam YZF-R1, Bridgestone, SBK, 1:36.625

3. VRD Igol Pierret Eexperience (Florian Alt 1:36.881/Florian Marino 1:36.923/Xavier Simeon 1:36.321), Yam YZF-R1, Dunlop, SBK, 1:36.708

4. Team SRC Kawasaki France (Jeremy Guarnoni 1:36.596/David Checa 1:37.259/Erwan Nigon 1:36.847), Kaw ZX-10RR, Pirelli, SBK, 1:36.900

5. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe 1:36.991/Etienne Masson 1:36.999/Gregg Black 1:37.121), Suz GSX-R1000, Dunlop, SBK, 1:37.037

6. Honda Endurance Racing (Sebastien Gimbert 1.37.558/Yonny Hernandez 1:37.080/Randy de Puniet 1:36.904), Hon CBR1000RR, Dunlop, SBK, 1:37.180

7. F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Josh Hook 1:37.757/Freddy Foray 1:37.651/Mike DiMeglio 1:37.085), Hon CBR1000RR, Bridgestone, SBK, 1:37.497

8. WEPOL Racing (Sheridan Morais 1:37.791/Danny Webb 1:37.058/Matthieu Lagrive 1:37.938), Yam YZF-R1, Pirelli, SBK, 1:37.595

9. Bolliger Team Switzerland (Roman Stamm 1:38.005/Sebastien Suchet 1:37.409/Nigel Walraven 1:38.037), Kaw ZX-10R, Pirelli, SBK, 1:37.817

10. GERT56 by GS Yuasa (Julian Puffe 1:36.523/Pepijn Bijsterbosch 1:38.955/Lucy Glockner 1:38.157), BMW S1000RR, Pirelli, STK, 1:37.878

51. Girls Racing Team (Jolanda Van Westrenen 1:42.620/Melodie Coignard 1:41.970/Melissa Paris 1:43.093), Yam YZF-R1, STK, 1:42.561

More, from a press release issued by Eurosport Events:

ERC-BMW MOTORRAD TAKES POLE POSITION

The factory BMW seized pole at the end of a hectic qualifying session. Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance are ahead of YART Yamaha and VRD Igol Pierret Expériences on the starting grid. BMW also took the Superstock pole with GERT56 by GS Yuasa.

Riders lit up the timesheets at the second qualifying session of the 24 Heures Motos on the Bugatti circuit this morning. While Randy de Puniet was the only rider to come in under the 1:37 mark in the first session yesterday afternoon, most of the favourites significantly upped their performance on the track this morning.

Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance carried the day. Kenny Foray, Julien Da Costa and Mathieu Gines shaved a second off their lap time to claim pole position. The 2016 24 Heures Motos were the last time a BMW was on pole. We will have to see how things play out in the race this weekend, but the three riders, all Endurance specialists, are feeling very confident.

YART Yamaha are right behind them in second place on the starting grid. Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa also substantially improved their lap time and remain very serious contenders for the win.

VRD Igol Pierret Expériences continue to amaze. Third on the starting grid, the Viltaïs team, who have moved up into EWC this season with big ambitions, stood up to the favourites with a trio of riders straight from speed championships. While Florian Alt is a long-time rider with the Yamaha-mounted endurance team, Florian Marino comes from Superbike and Xavier Simeon from MotoGP.

Battle of the manufacturers

The leading trio on the starting grid presages an all-out battle of the manufacturers. Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance are Pirelli-shod, while YART Yamaha are using Bridgestone tyres and VRD Igol Pierret Expériences have Dunlop’s support.

Team SRC Kawasaki France are in 4th place on the starting grid ahead of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team. Honda Endurance Racing, who gave it their all in Thursday afternoon’s qualifying, ended up in 6th place ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda France, who opted to focus on preparing their new 2019 CBR 1000 RR SP2 for the race.

Tense Superstock race on the cards

BMW also took the top spot in Superstock. GERT56 by GS Yuasa, once again the best-in-class, will start from 10th place on the grid with riders Julian Puffe, Pepijn Bijsterbosch and Lucy Glöckner. The other teams are right behind the German squad (winners of the Superstock class at the Bol d’Or) on the grid: Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto, Motors Events, SC Project Paton Reparto Corse (who have hired Nico Terrol, 125cc world champion) and Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki, in that order.

In the Experimental class, the Kawasaki iTem 17 will start from 28th place.

The 42nd edition of the 24 Heures Motos will be flagged off at 3pm CEST on Saturday.

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Racing:

YART Yamaha Show Their Pace With Second Place in Le Mans Qualifying

The YART Yamaha Official EWC Team will line up in second place for the start of the 42nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans tomorrow, after Marvin Fritz, Niccolò Canepa and Broc Parkes qualified the YART R1 in second position during today’s final timed sessions.

It was a carbon copy of the result from Thursday’s opening qualifying session, which YART Yamaha also finished in second place. But while the gap to pole position yesterday was already close at 0.092s, today the YART Yamaha trio cut the gap to just 0.028s, only missing out on pole position as a result of Parkes hitting traffic during his qualifying runs.

While only one rider, former MotoGP protagonist Randy de Puniet, dipped under the 1’37s mark yesterday, the second and final qualifying sessions today saw all three YART Yamaha riders consistently in the 1’36s bracket, with their times set on race rather than qualifying tyres.

The four points for second position overall means that YART Yamaha move up from third to second in the championship standings ahead of tomorrow’s race, which gets underway with the traditional Le Mans style start at 15.00 CET.

Marvin Fritz

Qualifying Time: 1’36.336

“We attended the Le Mans tests ahead of the race but, because of the inclement weather, we didn’t really get many laps in the dry, only in the wet. In qualifying yesterday, we worked to make improvements to the bike in the dry on race tyres, with positive results. Today we went with the softer option race tyre for the second qualifying and I had a really good feeling from the start. I think we have the strongest team and, after qualifying in P2 and so close to pole position, everything is in place for a good race.”

Niccolò Canepa

Qualifying Time – 1’36.581

“I’m really happy with qualifying, as I had a really good feeling with the bike and we were able to do fast and consistent lap times on race tyres. We’re in a good position going into the race. The bike and tyres are working well, the weather looks like it will stay dry and we have three strong riders on the YART R1. I’m looking forward to the start tomorrow and, hopefully, come three o’clock on Sunday we will be finishing with a good result.”

Broc Parkes

Qualifying Time – 1’36.959

“It was a little bit of a mixed qualifying because I didn’t really get a clear track. I did manage two quick laps on the soft tyre but even they were done in traffic. It meant my ideal time was much better than my actual qualifying time. Anyway, I feel good on the bike. We worked hard to improve the set-up over the past few days and I think we’ve got good pace for the race. We have three strong riders so the team, the Bridgestone tyres are working well and even the weather looks like it’s going to work in our favour. Overall, we’re looking really strong for and I’m really looking forward to the race. I think that, if we can stay out of trouble, then we’ll be able to fight for a good result.”

Mandy Kainz

YART Yamaha Official EWC Team Manager

“It was again a very close qualifying and even though we missed out on pole position by just 0.028s, one of the smallest gaps ever, we are very happy with the performance. Second in qualifying gives us four points more and moves us to second in the championship, as well as giving us a good starting position for the race tomorrow. We did our qualifying times on race tyres, as Bridgestone don’t bring qualifying tyres, so we know we have a good pace for the race. I think we have one of, if not the strongest package on the grid, so let’s see what the race will bring.”

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

Honda Endurance Racing to start the 24 Heures Motos sixth on the grid

24 Heures Motos

Circuit des 24 Heures, France

The Honda Endurance Racing team with Randy de Puniet, Sébastien Gimbert and Yonny Hernandez will start the 24 hours of Le Mans – second round of the 2018/2019 FIM Endurance World Championship – from sixth on the grid aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.

It has been a good start to the Le Mans weekend for the #111 squad, after taking the provisional pole position in yesterday’s first qualifying session, and also during night practice the trio fought at the sharp end of the grid.

After a rain shower prior to the test on Tuesday, weather conditions constantly improved through until the second qualifying session today.

Honda Endurance Racing had opted for new Dunlop tyres in yesterday’s session, meaning de Puniet, Gimbert and Hernandez had to use what was left in them due to the regulatory tyre limitation in endurance racing. However the trio still improved their personal best time to make an average of 1:’37.180, earning them sixth spot on the grid.

The 24 Heures Motos takes place tomorrow (Saturday 20 April) with the race starting at 1500hrs local time (BST+1) and concludes on Sunday (21 April) at 1500hrs local time (BST+1).

For all the real time race updates and team news follow @HondaRacingCBR on Twitter.

Randy de Puniet 111

The feeling is quite good. We fixed the little issue we had with the front brakes yesterday and all is much better now. We had a good practice but we had no new tyre left. Finally it was a mistake to use them yesterday because the track was in a much better condition today. But even with used tyres everyone improved his lap time so this is a good sign. We have a good race pace so that’s why I am confident we can fight for the top positions tomorrow.

Sébastien Gimbert 111

Thursday’s session was good, today was not so good: today we could not make the best lap. I lost the transponder on the bike and my lap time did not count, so I can only rely on my time from yesterday. But it is okay, it is not the race and just the qualification. The Fireblade is good and all our issues we had yesterday are solved. My team and our staff is working brilliant and my teammates are fast, so we can attack tomorrow. I want the win!

Yonny Hernandez 111

I feel good and I think we have now enough information for the race and we have a good pace. We just did a little mistake in tyres as today the track was much faster and better than yesterday but we had used all of our stickers. Anyway, it is still positive because all three of us today improved even on used tyres and this is a good sign. I think we have a good pace for the race and we can fight for to stay on the top at the end.

Jonny Twelvetrees

Team Manager

It has gone okay. Sixth is just outside the points which is disappointing, we messed up on the strategy as we used all the tyre stickers yesterday. This morning was much better conditions and we actually improved then, even with really used race tyres. That’s disappointing from the qualifying point of view. We used today as a test session and found out some good things as we were out on race rubber and showed a really good race pace. Taking the positives from it all – we have some more checks in warm up tomorrow and then we are ready to go racing!

More, from a press release issued by Honda Pro Racing:

Solid race preparation and strong qualifying for Honda at Le Mans 24hrs

Honda has enjoyed a strong qualifying for the 24 hours of Le Mans, for the FIM Endurance World Championship, placing four Fireblades in the top-17. The Honda Endurance Racing team took sixth on the grid, while the reigning world champions F.C.C. TSR Honda France, were just fractions behind in seventh.

After both, the official pre-test and the testing day at Le Mans this week were affected by rain, finally the first two days for the second round of the 2018/2019 championship saw improved conditions and bright sunshine. This made the teams gamble in when to fully attack in qualifying due to the tyre restrictions in endurance racing.

Honda Endurance Racing with riders: Randy de Puniet, Sébastien Gimbert and Yonny Hernandez, were the quickest Honda team on track earning sixth place on the grid with the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2. The average best time of the trio was 1’37.180. With better track conditions during today’s final qualifying session all riders improved their times and the stakes are high for tomorrow’s 24-hour race.

The reigning World Champions, F.C.C. TSR Honda France with Freddy Foray, Josh Hook and Mike di Meglio, worked hard on their race pace and to fine tune their brand new Fireblade. The French trio ended seventh for tomorrow’s starting grid, only less than half a second behind their fellow Honda sister-team.

There were two more Hondas in the top-17 with SC Project Paton Reparto Corse (Matteo Baiocco, Nicolas Terol, Simone Saltarelli) putting their CBR1000RR 13th on the grid. RAC41 earned a 17th spot with Honda Endurance Racing’s fourth rider Jan Halbich jumping in for the race to be partnered by Guillaume Antiga and Wayne Tessels.

Racing is set to get underway tomorrow (Saturday 20 April) at 1500hrs local time (BST+1) and will finish on Sunday (21 April) at 1500hrs local time (BST+1).

To keep up to date with Honda’s journey throughout the 24-hour race, follow Honda Pro Racing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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