World Endurance: Yamalube YART Yamaha On Pole For Le Mans 24-Hour

World Endurance: Yamalube YART Yamaha On Pole For Le Mans 24-Hour

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

24 Heures du Mans Motos - 24 heures Motos - Overall Qualifying Classification (average of the 2 best times) - Overall Qualifying Classification

 

EWC CHAMPION TEAM YART CHARGES TO 24 HEURES MOTOS POLE WITH NEW LE MANS LAP RECORD

(19 April 2024): Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team has made a flying start to its FIM Endurance World Championship title defence with pole position – and a new lap record – for the 24 Heures Motos, the opening round of the unmissable 2024 season, from tomorrow (20 April).

Niccolò CanepaMarvin Fritz and Karel Hanika combined in style on the 4.185-kilometre Circuit Bugatti to claim top spot ahead of Yoshimura SERT Motul and F.C.C. TSR Honda France, last year’s winner.

In doing so, Austria-based YART has bagged five championship points, with points also shared among the remaining fastest four teams, which included fourth-placed Honda Viltaïs Racing and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in fifth. 

YART also holds the new qualifying lap record after Italian rider Canepa set a 1m34.708s best during First Qualifying on Thursday. YART rider Hanika’s 1m34.878s, set in 2022 was the previous best time.

“I’m really happy because the bike yesterday was unbelievable, the Bridgestone tyres, everything,” Canepà, 35, said“We did a good choice yesterday to go all-in with the tyres and we set our best time because the conditions were really good and the lap time came. I’m especially happy because I’m not still 100 per cent fit due to my injury [in the Daytona 200 last month] but I am confident we can do a good race. My team-mates did an amazing job and also Max Neukirchner, our new crew chief.

“This morning we made the choice to start with the race configuration and we used the race tyres and each one of us did 12 laps in a row to get the feeling for the race. But it was really impressive the pace we could make. We didn’t push for a qualifying time like we did yesterday, it was a different strategy.”

Of his prospects for a first win at Le Mans since 2017, Canepa added: “The race is always very difficult and the competitors are really strong with many bikes that can be on the top, which is very nice for the fans and the people at home.”

In the Dunlop-equipped Superstock category, which counts for the FIM Endurance World CupNational Motos Honda was the team to beat ahead of Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team and Chromeburner-RAC41-Honda

As well as taking pole, National Motos Honda scored five points courtesy of riders Guillaume Raymond, from France, and Swiss brothers Sébastien and Valentin SuchetTeam 18 Sapeurs Pompers CMS Motostore and Wójcik Racing Team STK filled out the top five. 

“It’s a satisfaction for the team,” South Korea-born Raymond said“We have three riders with the same pace so it’s good, but the pole position is only a little part, for us the race is more important although for sure it’s a little satisfaction. Every year the Superstock class is faster and the gap is very small so our goal is to do no mistake and make the laps. It would be great for us to win after the disappointment of not winning the Bol d’Or [last September after we retired from the lead in the final 20 minutes].”

How the EWC 24 Heures Motos pole was won
YART essentially did its hard work during First Qualifying on Thursday afternoon when Niccolò Canepa set a new lap record, a 1m34.708s. Despite Marvin Fritz having his best lap time disallowed for a track limits infringement and Karel Hanika crashing on his first flying lap, YART was fastest in three of the four Thursday sessions. With the final qualifying order based on the average time of the fastest two riders from each team YART could not be toppled as it repeated its 2022 pole-winning performance.

Friday’s Second Qualifying in focus
Josh Hook topped today’s Blue Rider order after setting a time of 1m35.087s for F.C.C. TSR Honda France. Gregg Black clocked a Circuit Bugatti personal best – a 1m35.096s – with Illya Mykhalchyk third quickest for BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. Niccolò Canepa and KM99’s Jérémy Guarnoni rounded out the top five. Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team’s Kenny Foray’s lap of 1m36.832s set the standard in the Superstock division. Chris Leesch was next up for Chromeburner-RAC41-Honda followed by Enzo De La Vega (Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore). Black and Eemeli Lahti (Pit-Lane Endurance) both suffered falls during the 20-minute session.

In the Yellow Rider session, Étienne Masson was quickest for Le Mans-based Yoshimura SERT Motul with a best effort of 1m35.664s. Florian Marino (KM99) and Sylvain Guintoli, on his first appearance for BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, were second and third respectively, as Germany’s Marvin Fritz and Mike Di Meglio (F.C.C. TSR Honda France) completed the Formula EWC top five. Valentin Suchet was the leading Superstock contender for National Motos Honda followed by Jan Bühn (Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team) and Baptiste Guittet (Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore). Guittet, Christian Gamarino and Team Racing 85 by Soleane’s Hugo Girardet all hit back from falls. 

New-for-2024 Yoshimura SERT recruit Dan Linfoot’s 1m35.259s effort ensured the Briton topped the Red Rider group ahead of Alan Techer (F.C.C. TSR Honda France) and KM99’s Randy de Puniet. Czech Karel Hanika was fourth quickest followed by Honda Viltaïs Racing’s Argentine Leandro Marcado. Le Mans rookie Alessandro Delbianco was the Superstock pacesetter for Pit-Lane Endurance with Kevin Calia next up for the Aprilia-equipped Team Aviobike by M2 Revo outfit despite a fall. Guillaume Raymond took third for National Motos Honda.Takeshi Ishizuka (Maco Racing) and Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team both fell.

There was a heroic performance from Gino Rea in the Green Rider group when the Briton set the Superstock pace on his return to EWC action from serious head injuries sustained in a crash in 2022. The Honda-powered Wójcik Racing Team rider headed Chromeburner-RAC41-Honda’s Martin Renaudin and Alexis Masbou (Honda No Limits). Yoshimura SERT Motul reserve rider Cocoro Atsumi continued his fine Thursday form with the quickest time ahead of Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team’s back-up rider Robin Mulhauser. 

Hannes Soomer got another opportunity to impress for BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in third followed by James Westmoreland (Honda Viltaïs Racing) and Bálin Kovácas (Wójcik Racing Team). Guillaume Pot (3ART Best of Bike) and Flavio Ferroni (Team 33 Louit April Moto) fell during the closing stages of the session.

BEST LAPS
First Qualifying Blue Rider:
 Niccolò Canepa, 1m34.708s / Kenny Foray, 1m38.868s
First Qualifying Yellow Rider: Marvin Fritz, 1m35.139s / Jan Bühn, 1m37.679s
First Qualifying Red Rider: Karel Hanika, 1m35.028s / Guillaume Raymond, 1m37.756s
First Qualifying Green Rider: Cocoro Atsumi, 1m36.327s / Martin Renaudin, 1m37.667s

Second Qualifying Blue Rider: Josh Hook, 1m35.087s / Kenny Foray, 1m36.832s
Second Qualifying Yellow Rider: Étienne Masson, 1m35.664s / Valentin Suchet, 1m37.472s
Second Qualifying Red Rider: Dan Linfoot, 1m35.259s / Alessandro Delbianco, 1m37.404s
Second Qualifying Green Rider: Cocoro Atsumi, 1m37.187s / Gino Rea, 1m

WHAT’S NEXT? The 47th edition of the 24 Heures Motos is scheduled to begin at 15h00 CET tomorrow (Saturday 20 April)

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