World Endurance: YART Yamaha On Pole For 24 Hours Of Le Mans (Updated)

World Endurance: YART Yamaha On Pole For 24 Hours Of Le Mans (Updated)

© 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

24 heures Motos - Overall Qualifying Classification - Overall Qualifying Classification



More, from a press release issued by Eurosport Events:


After a hotly disputed second qualifying session at Le Mans, YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team wrested pole position ahead of Yoshimura SERT Motul and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team.

After a first qualifying session topped by a whisker by Yoshimura SERT Motul, the Franco-Japanese team lost out by a slight gap to YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team. The Austrian factory team was the only one to have all three riders within 1:35. Karel Hanika, who remained the fastest on track with a 1:35.732 lap, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa were practically within the same tenth of a second in the saddle of the R1 #7.

YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team, who have pocketed the 5 points awarded for pole position, will start from first place on the starting grid ahead of Suzuki Yoshimura SERT Motul (Gregg Black, Xavier Simeon and Sylvain Guintoli) and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team (Markus Reiterberger, Ilya Mikhalchik and Javier Forés).

Tati Team Beringer Racing kept up their efforts. The Kawasaki-mounted independent team (Alan Techer, Sébastien Suchet and Julien Enjolras) are 4th on the grid.
Another independent team stood out today. The VRD Igol Experiences Yamaha is 5th on the grid thanks to Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Nico Terol.

These two bold teams did better than three factory teams, F.C.C. TSR Honda France, Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar and ERC Endurance-Ducati, slowed by crashes this morning.

Moto Ain and 3ART Best of Bike round off the Top 10 at the start of the 24 Heures Motos.

The team missing from the leading pack are Wójcik Racing Team, who are trying to recompose a three-rider line-up in the absence of Gino Rea and Sheridan Morais, unable to be there because of health restrictions, and of Randy Krummenacher, who is competing in World Supersport in Misano.

There was a pitched battle in the Superstock class too. In the end Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore carried the day ahead of Wójcik Racing Team 2, RAC41 ChromeBurner, Team 33 Louit April Moto, No Limits Motor Team, BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers and National Motos. These teams are grouped together in 11th to 18th place on the grid.

On a cooler track than yesterday afternoon at the Bugatti circuit, the second qualifying was hotly disputed and all the teams improved their performances, which heralds a thrilling race for the opening of the 2021 FIM EWC season.

The 24 Heures Motos will be flagged off at midday tomorrow (Saturday) at Le Mans.

Mandy Kainz, team manager YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team

“We are thrilled to get this second pole position in a row at the 24 Heures Motos. We are ready for the race and reassured that Niccolò Canepa is 100% fit after his injury. The race will be hotly fought but we are here to win.”




More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Racing:

YART Storm to Second-Consecutive Pole Position in Le Mans

Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa have claimed pole position for the 44th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hour this weekend, setting a combined time of 1:35.804 to go 0.147 seconds clear at the top of the timesheets. The pole position also awards them with five valuable championship points.

YART Yamaha have claimed their second-consecutive Le Mans pole position after a sublime effort from Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa saw them end qualifying just over a tenth clear of second place with a 1:35.804

Six tenths faster than anyone in practice on Thursday morning, the official Yamaha EWC Team got their qualifying underway on Thursday afternoon and were quick out of the blocks. Hanika stormed to the fastest time of the day in the opening session, setting a 1:36.018 to claim first position in the blue riders’ session.

Fritz was next up and, using the same tyres as Hanika, put in a time of a 1:36.395 in session that was interrupted by a red flag. Second position for the German put YART Yamaha in contention to claim provisional pole with just Canepa left to run. Just like team-mate Fritz, the Italian remained on the tyres the team started the session with and despite having less grip, Canepa recorded the third fastest time and saw the team finish the first qualifying in second, just four thousandths behind SERT.

With fresh tyres at their disposal for Friday morning’s cooler qualifying session, YART wasted no time as Czech rider Hanika opened the day’s running. His first lap was good enough for second place but dropped to fourth after a pit stop. Back out on fresh rubber, the 25-year-old immediately picked up the pace, setting the team’s first sub 36 second lap of the event with a 1:35.732, 0.153 seconds quicker than his rivals and just two thousandths shy of the lap record.

With a successful first session completed; the number seven Yamaha was in the hands of Fritz once again as the second session got underway. The German rider took a steady approach to his first few laps but by the mid-way point of the session he had jumped up to second place with a 1:36.405. His next lap was even better, joining team-mate Hanika in the 1:35’s, enough to end the session 0.056 seconds shy of the top spot.

Niccolò Canepa made it a hat-trick of 1:35 lap times as he powered the R1 to first in the red riders’ session. The Italian flew to the top of the timesheets by over three tenths of a second, setting a remarkable 1:35.831 to help his team take back-to-back poles in Le Mans and their third pole in a row.

With all three riders on lap record pace, and the only squad to have all three of their riders under the 1:36’s in qualifying, the team are confident ahead of the FIM Endurance World Championship season opener following strong performances in both the day and night practice sessions.

The VRD IGOL Expériences team also had a strong showing in qualifying. Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Nicolas Terol recorded the fifth fastest time and will start the race as the second highest Yamaha team.

Moto Ain will line up ninth ahead of a quadruple of Yamahas including the Wojcik Racing Team 2 bike who will start 13th. The Wojcik Racing Team suffered a crash early on and recovered to 21st place.

The 44th Edition of the 24 Heures Motos commences at noon on Saturday, June 12th.


Karel Hanika – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Time: 1:35.732  

“I’m very happy with our work so far this week, we have showed good pace in both race runs and one lap speed and we earn first five points for the championship! We need to stay focused for the race because the conditions are going to be tough with high temperatures which will be more demanding for both the riders and Bridgestone tyres. But we will try to concentrate on ourselves and keep going lap by lap and hopefully be in a good position for the end of the race.”


Marvin Fritz – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Time: 1:35.849  

“We had a great qualifying, but it’s only qualifying and we have a long 24-hours ahead of us. We chose to use one set of tyres on Thursday because we knew our time would come in the second qualifying session on Friday morning. We were the only team to have all of their riders lapping under the 1:36’s which is really good. We are much quicker than last year which shows the great work the team have put in over the winter. We are very well prepared for the race, we need to work out who will start between me and Karel and then we can go from there. We need to make sure we stay focussed on our own race, stay concentrated, bring home some good points and hopefully a trophy!”


Niccolò Canepa – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Time: 1:35.831

“This pole position is special to me after my injury. It’s so nice to be this fast and competitive, so I’m really happy. It was great to claim pole because we get five points for the championship and every point counts in EWC. Now we focus on the race, we know we’re quick and I think the night running will be our best chance to demonstrate our potential with the bike and the Bridgestone tyres. I hope I will be okay to run the full race and fight right till the end.”


Mandy Kainz – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Team Manager 

“Qualifying was good, yesterday we used one set of tyres because we knew the cooler conditions for the second session would suit us better. All three riders were within a tenth of the lap record, Karel missing out by just two thousandths of a second! This is really promising because we didn’t use qualifying tyres, just soft race tyres and immediately the riders were fast. We are confident for the race, two consecutive poles here in Le Mans is good but we need to try and take more from it compared to last year when we unfortunately crashed and finished fourth. But we are happy, pole in Le Mans, Estoril and again this year in Le Mans; this is the maximum we can do! The race will have its own rules so we’ll have to see the outcome. We have the best bike, the best tyres, the best three riders and hopefully the best luck. We’re very happy that Niccolò has returned to his old self, he is very fast and looks in good shape for the race.”




More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

FIM EWC: Third place on the grid for the #37 BMW M 1000 RR and the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team at the “24 Heures Motos” in Le Mans.

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team kicks off its second season in the FIM Endurance World Championship in Le Mans.

Third place on the grid after two-part qualifying on Thursday and Friday.

Markus Reiterberger, Ilya Mikhalchik and Xavi Forés in action for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team.

Munich. The new #37 BMW M 1000 RR for the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC) will start its race debut in Le Mans (FRA) from the front row of the grid. The two-part qualifying for the “24 Heures Motos” took place on Thursday and Friday. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, with regular riders Markus Reiterberger (GER), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Xavi Forés (ESP), ended the two sessions in third place.

The starting positions are determined by taking the average of the respective best times of the individual riders. At 1:36.099 minutes, the average time for Reiterberger, Mikhalchik and Forés was just 0.297 off pole position. The famous 24-hour race gets underway at 12:00 on Saturday.

Two privateer BMW Motorrad Motorsport teams are also in action at the “24 Heures Motos”. Team LRP Poland starts from 20th place with the #90 BMW S 1000 RR, while the Univers Racing/AC Racing team lines up in 35th place on the grid.

Quotes after the Le Mans qualifying.
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “I am quite happy with qualifying. Third place, only two tenths of a second behind the first place. That was not too bad. All three riders have the same speed, which is really good. As is the same for everyone, the high temperatures are a challenge. It is very hot here. I think that we are well prepared. It will be a very long and tough race in these temperatures – but we are confident.”

Markus Reiterberger: “It was very hot in the first qualifying session yesterday, and that is apparently something we struggle with. The bike behaves differently in these temperatures to during the test in spring. It was cooler today and I was the fastest man in the team with a 1:35 lap on the new tyre – not the Qualifier. We all improved and managed to secure third place on the grid. We saw that we have a slight disadvantage in the heat, but that changes when it gets cooler. Because of this, we must now consider how to pace the race tactically. It is definitely going to be a challenging, long and tough race, but we are feeling positive and excellently prepared.”

Xavi Forés: “Qualifying went quite well for us. We finished in third position and our pace was quite good. But the track conditions were much hotter than when we were here for testing, so our bike is working differently. Overall, it was not too bad. All three riders have been riding on the same pace, which has to be the target especially for the race. So yes, I am happy. The bike is working as we want and we have to be clever for the race. We are looking forward to start it.”

Ilya Mikhalchik: “I am happy about the result. Especially today I had a good feeling. The days before I still was struggling a bit as the temperatures were hotter than during the test in spring and that was a challenge for us. But the team found good solutions for the bike, even for hot conditions, and the tyres started to work quite well. We are confident that we can do a good job. The important thing is to have a good start and to be constant and stable and then, when the night comes, it should be our time, because we were really fast in the cooler temperatures. Let’s hope for a clean race and that we can finish in a top position after 24 hours.”




More, from a press release issued by F.C.C. TSR Honda France:

F.C.C. TSR Honda France qualifies in sixth, RAC41 Chromeburner third in class for the start of the 24h Motos at Le Mans

FIM Endurance World Championship team F.C.C. TSR Honda France will start from sixth position on the grid for the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans

After two very warm qualifying sessions at the Bugatti circuit, FIM Endurance World Championship team F.C.C. TSR Honda France will start from sixth position on the grid for the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans aboard the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. In the Superstock category, RAC41 Chromeburner started strongly to line up third in class for tomorrow’s race.

On Thursday, last year’s winners of the event finished the first qualifying in fifth place with a best lap time in 1:37.221, saving some tyres for the final qualifying as the opening session proved too hot to set a real qualifying pace.

The team also obtained the fifth best time with a 1:36.789 lap during the second qualifying session at Le Mans on Friday. The team wanted to test a new front tyre as the day ended up being much hotter than expected, so it was important to gain data on the harder compound which will be needed for the race. In the third session of the qualifying, a crash from Mike prevented the team from improving the lap time.

The combined qualifying times gave the Honda’s endurance specialists Josh Hook, Mike Di Meglio and Yuki Takahashi, an average lap of 1:36.789 and the team, qualified on sixth place aboard the Fireblade SP.

Further Honda teams lining up for the 24 Heures Motos on the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP include the RAC41 Chromeburner that obtained a strong qualifying, where they finished 14th fastest overall (1:38.518) and third best lap time in the Superstock Category while National Motos will start 18th overall.

The race will be flagged off at 12:00 (CEST) on Saturday 12th June and finished at 12:00 (CEST) on Sunday 13th June.

Josh Hook 5

F.C.C. TSR Honda France

‘Qualifying 2 wasn’t too bad. Although it wasn’t the perfect conditions this morning to try the new front tyre, it was working well even in lower temperatures this morning, so it will work for the race that is positive for us. We have a good race bike, and that’s our focus to concentrate on 24 hours, and we believe it will be very strong. Qualifying position doesn’t credit the work we’ve put into but looking forward to the race. I think we can be very consistent and faster.’

Mike Di Meglio 5

F.C.C. TSR Honda France

‘I am very disappointed for the team because I had a crash. Josh tried a new front that looked better, and Yuki was with a used tyre in the qualifying before me. I saw that his pace was 36 high, 37 low so I started with used tyres, so with a new front and used rear, and I tried to have a good rhythm. I pushed a lot to be very warm when I will have a new rear tyre, and it was my mistake, I lost the front. We tried to go with the other bike, with the same front tyre, but I couldn’t improve my lap time as there was a damage with the wheel, but better now than at the race. I think it is important that we gained some advice with new tyre for hot temperature.’

Yuki Takahashi 5

F.C.C. TSR Honda France

‘I made a crash yesterday so sorry for the team and my team mates. After the crash the team worked very well and today we tried new front tyre that was very good. I have very good feeling with the bike and I pushed a little more and I am happy with my lap time and hope to have a great race tomorrow’.




More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:


Yoshimura SERT Motul Suzuki: GSX-R1000R – 2nd.

After a hard-fought qualifying session at the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans, the Yoshimura SERT Motul team confirmed its status as a serious candidate for victory by setting the second fastest time.

Despite a completely revised line-up for the 2021 season, the team formed by the combination of Japanese Yoshimura and French SERT is already proving to be one of the most formidable in the FIM EWC field. The team gave a clear indication of its sporting potential with a provisional pole position in the first qualifying session on Thursday.

In today’s second qualifying session, the trio of Gregg Black, Xavier Siméon and Sylvain Guintoli continued their efforts. The men at the controls of the reigning world champions Suzuki took advantage of a cooler track than the day before to improve their time significantly.

Black set his best lap of 1.35.915, while Siméon stood out with an excellent time of 1.35.793. Guintoli, the latest team recruit and former World Superbike Champion, finished his last practice session with a time very close to his team-mates in 1.36.145.

At the end of this second qualifying session, the regularity and consistency of the riders paid off. They allow the Yoshimura SERT Motul team to be credited, on the average of the best times, with a time of 1.35.951, only 15 tenths from the pole position. The Suzuki #1 will therefore take off from the second position on the grid of the 44th edition of the 24 Heures Motos, which will start tomorrow, Saturday June 11, at noon.

Gregg Black:

“With all the changes the team has undergone since the end of the 2020 season, we are very happy to be back at the forefront already. We didn’t have much opportunity to ride the bike this winter but we knew that Yoshimura and SERT were working hard on their side. This second place in practice gives us a huge confidence for the race.”

Xavier Siméon:

“Everything went very well and like my team-mates I am very satisfied with the package made by the Yoshimura and SERT teams. The Bridgestone tyres are also very efficient. So we are enjoying the bike. We gave everything we had to get pole position, even if our target is of course to win the race. In the end, the Suzuki is not far from the best time. We therefore have all the assets in hand to aim for the podium of these 24 Heures Motos.”

Sylvain Guintoli:

“Since the start of this project, progress has been continuous. The whole team worked well to get us really close to pole position. We are confident for the race because the bike is efficient and well balanced. This is my first experience in a 24 hour race and I am looking forward to it. I have some questions, of course, but I’m lucky to have a very experienced technical team and riders by my side.”

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