Second for YART Yamaha EWC in Mixed Bol d’Or Qualifying
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team will start the 84th Bol d’Or from second position after strong Friday sessions from Niccolò Canepa, Marvin Fritz and Karel Hanika saw the team record an average time of 1:53.177, leaving them +0.405 seconds adrift of pole-sitters Suzuki.
After a week of mixed weather in Le Castellet, the YART Yamaha team were eager to take to the 3.25-mile circuit as preparations continue for the Bol d’Or 24-hour. A wet opening practice saw YART finish in eighth before returning to the top positions as conditions improved in the night practice, ending the session a close second.
The challenging conditions would see qualifying a washout on Thursday, before YART returned to a sunny Paul Ricard on Friday for a final attack at pole position. Heading into the final sessions fourth on the timesheets, Niccolò Canepa got the team’s session underway setting an initial time of 1:53.529 putting him second quickest. Improvements in his second run saw the Italian jump 0.077s clear of his rivals.
Setting off on provisional pole, Marvin Fritz returned to the track and immediately put the R1 inside the top three. His best time of 1:53.261 put him second, but issues with traffic on his final run left the German unable to improve, ending his session eight tenths down in second place.
With one session to go, Karel Hanika stepped aboard the YART Yamaha and like his team-mates, instantly set a fast lap time. Sitting in first position as the session drew to a close, the Czech rider couldn’t improve upon his best time of 1:53.144 which left him second place in the red riders’ session.
The best efforts from all three riders left them with an average time of 1:53.177, which was good enough for second on the grid for tomorrow’s 24-hour race.
The VRD IGOL EXPÉRIENCES Yamaha team enjoyed a strong qualifying session. The team running Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Nicholas Terol rounded out the session in fifth place.
The Wójcik Racing Team rounded out the top ten after strong sessions from Gino Rea, Sheridan Morais and Dan Linfoot saw their time of 1:54.878 leave them in a strong position for the race. MOTO AIN and TEAM 18 SAPEURS POMPIERS CMS MOTOSTORE were 11th and 12th.
The Bol d’Or gets underway on Saturday 18th September with the morning warm-up at 11:30. The race kicks off Saturday afternoon with the flag dropping at 3pm CET.
Niccolò Canepa – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Time: 1:53.139
“We are really happy about the result in qualifying. All three of us did a good job but more importantly we are feeling good with the bike and we feel ready for the race. No doubt it will be a difficult race because there are a lot of teams who have a strong pace, but I’m really looking forward to begin and hopefully bring back the team a strong result come Sunday afternoon.”
Marvin Fritz – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Time: 1:53.250
“We’re happy about second position for the race tomorrow. We weren’t so lucky with the slipstream, which is what you need at this track for a fast lap. All three of us managed to set a strong lap time, so this second position is good. It’s true that we haven’t had the best of luck in recent races starting from pole, so this gives us more motivation to get a good result tomorrow. Looking ahead for the race, our pace is strong and we feel really good on our YART R1 in all conditions, so whatever the weather, we’re ready to fight at the top!
Karel Hanika – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Time: 1:53.144
“It was not an easy qualifying because we only had 20 minutes each to set a good lap, and it was tough to find the perfect track position. I managed a good lap early on, but unfortunately my fastest lap, a 52.7, didn’t count as I just took the chequered flag. Anyway, second place is a good place to start the race, especially as we’re feeling good with our YART R1. It will be a long race, but we know we’ll come good in the cooler conditions once the sun goes down.”
Mandy Kainz – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Team Manager
“It’s been a good week so far. We were quite fast in the wet but we knew that Friday’s sessions would be dry so we didn’t want to take any risks. We’re happy with second but we didn’t get an ideal lap. The Paul Ricard circuit is so long and you have a long straight in the middle sector so it’s important to get a good track position. Our ideal time was quicker so we know we have more potential, but anyway we’re happy with how our qualifying went. We’re happy to not be on pole because we’ve had a lot of pole positions recently but none of them have turned into a good race result! Second position is good and we’re very happy with it and we’re confident that with the R1, the Bridgestone tyres and our three riders that we can have a good race.”