GMT94 Yamaha claims pole
Rainy weather kept yesterday’s positions on the Bol d’Or starting grid unchanged. GMT94 Yamaha, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and SRC Kawasaki will line up next to each other for the race start at 3pm on the Paul Ricard circuit.
A series of showers during the night and lingering rain this morning in Castellet made it impossible, with a few exceptions, to improve on yesterday’s qualifying times on a dry track.
Boosted by its two wins during the 2016 season, GMT94 Yamaha is looking like the team to beat as the new FIM EWC 2016/2017 season gets underway, with riders David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Lucas Mahias (who posted yesterday’s fastest lap). In 2nd place on the grid, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team is aiming to hold on to its position as reigning champion with riders Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Etienne Masson. Meanwhile, 3rd-placed Team SRC Kawasaki will try to keep up its winning momentum after four consecutive victories at the Bol d’Or, with this year’s riders Gregory Leblanc, Fabien Foret and high-profile new recruit Randy de Puniet.
But there are other contenders bent on winning in the Top 8: F.C.C. TSR Honda, Honda Endurance Racing, YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Trick Star Racing and Penz13.com BMW Motorrad Team (which might have to do without Lucas Pesek, who suffered a foot injury).
Team Louit Moto 33 Traqueur is leading the Superstock class in 9th place, ahead of Team April Moto Motors Events (capable of leading the race with Gregg Black, Matthieu Lagrive and Grégory Fastré), and Maco Racing Team. A cluster of Superstock teams is 12th to 15th on the starting grid: Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki, Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences, Team 3Art Yam’Avenue and Tati Team Beaujolais Racing.
The 80th Bol d’Or also features an all-feminine team, who will start 39th of the 55 competing squads. The team is composed of American rider Melissa Paris, Dutch rider Jolanda Van Westrenen and Frenchwomen Muriel Simorre and Carole Goncalves.
The race will be flagged off at 3pm tomorrow on the Paul Ricard circuit, where dry conditions are forecast.