The factory-backed Austrian team dominated the Bol d’Or tests at Le Castellet. Reigning champions Team SRC Kawasaki France also set a cracking pace, ahead of the amazing VRD Igol Pierret Experiences, who are racing their second season in the premier EWC class.
Minus Broc Parkes, but with Loris Baz replacing the Australian rider, who is racing in Sepang the weekend of the Bol d’Or, YART Yamaha dominated the two-day test on the Paul Ricard circuit. The fastest lap set by YART Yamaha (Loris Baz, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa), a 1:54.154, sets the stage for a thrilling Bol d’Or. Last year, Randy de Puniet posted a record lap time in qualifying, a 1:54.007.
Five other teams came in under the 1:55 mark today. Team SRC Kawasaki France (Jérémy Guarnoni, David Checa and Erwan Nigon) proved worthy of their championship crown with a 1:54.398 lap. Manager Gilles Stafler is looking fairly confident in the run-up to the 24-hour race on 21 and 22 September at Le Castellet.
VRD Igol Pierret Experiences and Tati Team Beaujolais Racing among the top four
The Bol d’Or could also see a standout performance by VRD Igol Pierret Experiences. Following a successful first season overall in the Formula EWC class, the Yamaha-supported French team set the third-fastest time of the Bol d’Or tests with riders Xavier Siméon, Florian Marino and Florian Alt. “We did a lot of work with Dunlop,” explains Yannick Lucot, the team manager of VRD Igol Pierret Experiences. “The input from Xavier Siméon, a development test rider for Dunlop, was very helpful. We’re also getting increasingly familiar with the bike, which makes setup easier. But we still have room for improvement.”
Tati Team Beaujolais Racing also turned in a great performance with the 4th-quickest time of the tests. After their move up into the premier class at the beginning of the year, the Kawasaki-mounted privateer team have recruited Alan Techer, the 2017-2018 FIM EWC world champion with F.C.C. TSR Honda France, to partner Julien Enjolras and Kevin Denis.
Fifth-placed F.C.C. TSR Honda France focused on race preparation rather than pure performance with an unchanged three-rider line-up (Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike Di Meglio), like Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, the 8th-fastest, who are once again fielding Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black, albeit with a new team manager, Damien Saulnier.
BMW slotted in between these two heavyweights. BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team wrapped up their first outing neck and neck with Team ERC Endurance, also BMW-mounted.
Two Superstocks in the Top10
Moto Ain, the winners of the FIM Endurance World Cup, posted the fastest time of the Superstock class with riders Roberto Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Hugo Clère. Their main rivals for the quickest time were Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto’s Enzo Boulom, Kevin Manfredi and Christian Gamarino. They will however also have to reckon with BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers and the returning Team Motors Events in this class.
All the teams competing in the Bol d’Or will be back on the track for free practice on Thursday 19 September. The 83rd Bol d’Or will be flagged off at 3pm on Saturday 21 September.
Top 10 – Bol d’Or tests, 3 and 4 September 2019
1 – YART Yamaha – 1:54.154
2 – Team SRC Kawasaki France – 1:54.398
3 – VRD Igol Pierret Experiences (Yamaha) – 1:54.659
4 – Tati Team Beaujolais Racing (Kawasaki) – 1:54.860
5 – F.C.C. TSR Honda France – 1:54.947
6 – Team ERC Endurance (BMW) – 1:54.968
7 – BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team – 1:55.076
8 – Suzuki Endurance Racing Team – 1:55.123
9 – Moto Ain (Yamaha) – 1:55.422
10 – Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto (Kawasaki) – 1:55.688
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