Niccolò Canepa’s rapid lap of 1m35.500s among the Red classified riders helped YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC secure the provisional pole position for the 24 Heues Motos, round one of the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship.
New rules for 2022 mean qualifying results are based on the average time of the fastest two riders – rather than three previously – with the results of the fourth rider not taken into account.
With Canepa’s team-mate, Karel Hanika, the quickest of the Blue riders in a time of 1m35.873s, YART registered an unofficial average of 1m35.686s.
Josh Hook, a Blue Rider, and his Yellow rider session-topping team-mate Gino Rea, helped F.C.C. TSR Honda France to the second unofficial quickest average time of 1m35.731s, followed by Yoshimura SERT Motul (unofficially a 1m35.975s) and ERC Endurance-Ducati (unofficially a 1m36.107s).
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team set the fifth best unofficial average of 1m36.201s with Wójcik Racing Team next with an unofficial average of 1m36.729s.
Of the Dunlop Superstock Trophy riders, Sébastien Suchet was quickest for National Motos in the Blue rider session, Baptiste Guittet set the Yellow rider session pace for Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore, while Danny Webb (Wójcik Racing Team) was the Dunlop Superstock Trophy competitor to beat in the Red rider session.
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:
YOSHIMURA SERT MOTUL THIRD IN LE MANS QUALIFYING 1
Yoshimura SERT Motul: GSX-R1000R – 3rd (1.35.975)
Yoshimura Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) Motul set the third fastest time in the first qualifying session today, Thursday the 14th of April, ahead of the 45th edition of 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans in France.
As defending World Champion, and last year’s 24 Heures event winner, Yoshimura SERT Motul is a firm favourite for the race that gets underway at 3pm (local time) this Saturday the 16th of April. With a perfectly-tuned technical team and a GSX-R1000R more efficient than ever, thanks to the latest developments in electronics and frame, Yoshimura SERT Motul is in a good position as the 2022 EWC season gets underway.
Riding the Suzuki #1, equipped with Bridgestone tyres, Gregg Black, Sylvain Guintoli and Xavier Simeon are joined by Kazuki Watanabe as a reserve rider for the opening round of the hugely-popular Endurance World Championship.
Victim of a heavy crash two weeks ago during the official pre-season test session, Black has recovered and proved it by setting his best lap of 1.35.970, the second-best time of his session.
Simeon also put in a good performance by reaching the top three of his session with a time of 1.36.058, while Guintoli set a time of 1.35.980.
Watanabe’s time was 1.37.793 after arriving at the Bugatti circuit straight from the airport, just a few hours before qualifying.
These first qualifying results are positive for the team with an average time for the French-Japanese outfit of 1.35.975, just three-tenths off the provisional pole position.
The 52 crews entered for this 2022 edition of the 24 Heures Motos are back on track tomorrow, Friday the 15th of April from 10:20am to 12:10pm (local time) for the second and final qualifying session that will determine the final positions on the starting grid.
Damien SAULNIER – Team Manager:
“Riders and technicians are satisfied with this third place. There is only a difference of three tenths of a second from our competitors; it’s really little. We now know what we have to do to gain! We have kept some parts for tomorrow, so we remain calm and focused. I also think that the riders feel good on the bike and that they all did very consistent lap times. This is also a very important point. There were no crashes, no mechanical problems. We tested new Bridgestone tyres, and everything went well. In short, it was a good day for us!”
Yohei KATO – Team Director:
“It has been a long winter! We are happy and excited to start the 24 Heures Motos amongst a high level of competitors. We kept trying new tyre options during this morning’s free practice. This first qualifying session was therefore done with tyres that the riders were not familiar with, so we are very satisfied with the third provisional position.”