Le Mans. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team has secured second place on the grid in an exciting, two-part qualifying for the “24 Heures Motos” in Le Mans (FRA). The average time of the fastest laps from each of the individual qualifying sessions was 1:36.899 minutes. The #37 BMW S 1000 RR missed out on pole position by less than two tenths of a second.
Qualifying took place on Thursday and Friday, with the weather unsettled at times. Regular riders Kenny Foray (FRA), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Markus Reiterberger (GER) started in the “Blue”, “Yellow” and “Red” groups. Peter Hickman (GBR), the team’s fourth rider in Le Mans, lined up in the “Green” group.
Private BMW team GERT56 by GS YUASA qualified third in the Superstock class (13th overall). Stefan Kerschbaumer (AUT), Lucy Glöckner (GER) and Pepijn Bijsterbosch (NED) will be alternating in the saddle of the #56 BMW S 1000 RR. The LRP Poland team starts from 17th place overall with the #90 BMW S 1000 RR and regular riders Dominik Vincon (GER), Kamil Krzemien (POL) and Bartlomiej Lewandowski.
The 24-hour race in Le Mans marks round three of the 2019/20 season in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC). The race starts at 12:00 on Saturday 29th August and ends at 12:00 on Sunday 30th August.
Quotes after qualifying for the “24 Heures Motos” in Le Mans.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Second place on the grid is an outstanding starting position for the 24-hour race. We showed in qualifying that we are quick in all conditions with all our riders and the BMW S 1000 RR. However, we are well aware that this is only the first step in endurance racing. We must now maintain the pace for 24 hours in the race, avoid making any mistakes, and have that little bit of luck you need when racing. In a 24-hour race, nobody can predict what might happen over such a long distance. We are definitely well-prepared and the whole BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team will do everything it can to come away with a strong result at midday on Sunday.”
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “I am very happy with the way the practice sessions and qualifying played out. We only had one crash today, with Ilya in qualifying, but these things happen, as every rider wants to do their best and push themselves to the limit. Our BMW S 1000 RR is running smoothly, our riders are all on top form, and our fourth rider Peter Hickman was also very impressive. I think we can be very happy with second place on the grid. We are now ready for the race!”
Kenny Foray: “The qualifying was not so bad for us, especially ‘Reiti’ did an absolutely incredible lap today. For me personally, the feeling got better session after session and I feel good on the bike even if I wasn’t able to go my pace so far. But I am convinced that it will be okay during the race. We have all the ingredients for a really good race. We riders are all fast and the team is strong so I expect the best. But 24 hours are 24 hours and I think that the weather will not be the best as we expect some rain, but we will see. I am sure that we can achieve a really, really good result.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “Overall, we have a strong package. All riders set fast lap times and have a strong pace and this is important in an endurance race. The bike also is really consistent and overall easy to ride, which is also good. So I am definitely looking forward to this long race. We will rest this night to be ready and fit tomorrow and then we try to enjoy these 24 hours of racing.”
Markus Reiterberger: “We were a bit unlucky with the weather yesterday, but we were able to recover well in the better conditions today. Kenny improved his lap time, Ilya unfortunately crashed, and I had to switch to the reserve bike – but we still managed to set the fastest time of the day. Qualifying was suspended after that, because another rider crashed. Maybe I could have gone even faster, as I felt great on the bike. Whatever, we have a good starting position for the race. The pace is there and everyone is doing a superb job. We must now ensure that we get off to a good start, avoid any crashes or mistakes, and get through the 24 hours without any technical issues.”
Peter Hickman: “It is great to be with the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. The bike itself was new for me but it has been good and I really enjoyed it. I am happy. I am here as the reserve rider and it was about to get to know the bike as much as possible in case I am needed. The team is really strong and the three regular riders all set real strong lap times and all are comfortable on the bike. The team is strong for the race, all have a good pace. Who knows what happens when we get going but fingers crossed for tomorrow and Sunday.”