The final qualifying session of the 24 Heures Motos on the Bugatti circuit was a ripper and when the times were tallied at the end of the day it was Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance that were the big improvers.
All three riders of the team in the 1m36s, Kenny Foray the quickest on 1m36.232, Julien Da Costa on 1m36.652 and Mathieu Gines on 1m36.909 saw the trio’s combined qualifying marker set at 1m36.597.
YART Yamaha are right behind them in second place on the starting grid. Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa also substantially improved their lap time and remain very serious contenders for the win
VRD Igol Pierret Expériences continue to amaze. Third on the starting grid, the Viltaïs team, who have moved up into EWC this season with big ambitions, stood up to the favourites with a trio of riders straight from speed championships. While Florian Alt is a long-time rider with the Yamaha-mounted endurance team, Florian Marino comes from Superbike and Xavier Simeon from MotoGP.
The leading trio on the starting grid presages an all-out battle of the manufacturers. Team ERC-BMW Motorrad Endurance are Pirelli-shod, while YART Yamaha are using Bridgestone tyres and VRD Igol Pierret Expériences have Dunlop’s support.
Team SRC Kawasaki France are in 4th place on the starting grid ahead of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team. Honda Endurance Racing, who gave it their all in Thursday afternoon’s qualifying, ended up in 6th place ahead of reigning World Champions F.C.C. TSR Honda France, who opted to focus on preparing their new 2019 CBR 1000 RR SP2 for the race.
BMW also took the top spot in Superstock. GERT56 by GS Yuasa, once again the best-in-class, will start from 10th place on the grid with riders Julian Puffe, Pepijn Bijsterbosch and Lucy Glöckner.
The other teams are right behind the German squad (winners of the Superstock class at the Bol d’Or) on the grid: Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto, Motors Events, SC Project Paton Reparto Corse (who have hired Nico Terrol, 125cc world champion) and Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki, in that order.
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