YART Yamaha picked up pole position ahead of BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team. In Superstock, Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto beat Moto Ain by a whisker to the best starting position.
YART Yamaha claimed pole position thanks to a very consistent team. All three riders – Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa – came in under the 1:37 mark on a lap of the Bugatti circuit. The Austrian factory Yamaha has dominated the proceedings at Le Mans since yesterday, and will start the 24 Heures Motos from pole at 12pm tomorrow (Saturday).
That said, the day’s best performance can be chalked up, not to YART Yamaha, but to BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. Markus Reiterberger posted the fastest qualifying lap, a 1:36.164, without however beating the record set by Randy de Puniet, a 1:35.730 lap in qualifying at the 2017 24 Heures Motos. The Belgian factory team (Kenny Foray, Ilya Mikhalchik and Markus Reiterberger) will take second position on the grid.
The leader of the provisional standings, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Etienne Masson, Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon), will start from 3rd just ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike di Meglio. It could be a tricky race for the Japanese Honda team, as Josh Hook was injured during practice but is expected to be allowed to race. The Honda #5 is ahead of ERC Endurance’s factory Ducati in the hands of Randy de Puniet, Julien da Costa and Louis Rossi.
VRD Igol Pierret Experiences once again managed to slip in among the favourites. In the saddle of the Yamaha #333, Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Mathieu Gines will start from 6th place on the grid ahead of reigning champions Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar.
The Kawasaki squad are without their team manager Gilles Stafler, currently recovering after a heart attack, and still getting to grips with their new Michelin tyres.
Three ambitious teams make up the rest of the Top 10 after qualifying: Tati Team Beaujolais Racing, Wójcik Racing Team and National Motos.
Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto (Kawasaki), the fastest Superstock team, will start from 11th place ahead of Moto Ain (Yamaha), the provisional leader in class, and GERT56 by GS Yuasa (BMW).
The 43rd edition of the 24 Heures Motos will be flagged off at 12noon CEST on Saturday 29 August by Dominique Meliand, the former team manager of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.