Le Castellet. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team will start the Bol d’Or in Le Castellet (FRA), which is the third round of the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC), from third on the grid with the #37 BMW M 1000 RR. Only the times of Markus Reiterberger (GER) and Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) were classified for qualifying, as the third regular rider, Xavi Forés (ESP), was unable to participate after picking up an injury in Thursday’s practice session in a crash that was not his fault. The team’s fourth rider, Kenny Foray (FRA) will alternate with Reiterberger and Mikhalchik in the race.
Forés was hit and knocked off his bike by another rider in practice and injured his shoulder in the fall. As he was unable to start in the two qualifying sessions on Thursday and Friday, the grid position for the #37 M RR was calculated taking the average of the fastest times set by Reiterberger and Mikhalchik in their sessions. Reiterberger’s best time of 1:53.617 minutes came on Friday morning, as did Mikhalchik’s fastest lap of 1:53.623 minutes. This produced an average time of 1:53.620 minutes.
The 84th Bol d’Or gets underway at 15:00 CEST on Saturday 18th September. The race finishes 24 hours later. The privateer BMW Team LRP Poland (#90 BMW S 1000 RR) starts from ninth place, with Tecmas BMW (#9 BMW S 1000 RR) 30th on the grid.
Quotes after the Bol d’Or qualifying.
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “It has been a little bit mixed feelings, because on one side we have Xavi’s injury, but, in general, I am very happy with qualifying. As a team we are very strong. We did not use any qualifying engine, but the lap times from Markus, Ilya and especially Kenny, who is going to be our third rider in the race, were very good. I am very happy to see that Kenny has the same rhythm as the others and that he is in top form. Everything is well prepared and we are ready to fight for the top places.”
Markus Reiterberger: “Third place on the grid is good, although I am not entirely satisfied with qualifying. I gave it my all, but was a little unlucky with slipstreams. That is an important factor here at this racetrack, especially when you are not on a bike in special qualifying trim. We will now sit down together and try to come up with the perfect package for the race. I think that all three of us – Ilya, Kenny and myself – are superbly-set in terms of our race pace. Unfortunately, Xavi cannot start. I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery. It is going to be a long and hard race, but we are ready.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “I am pretty happy with how the week has gone so far. I feel good on the bike, even if it it’s not 100 per cent perfect yet like it was at the test. We did not manage to put together the ideal lap as we did at the test with Markus. But it is good to start from P3 and we can rely on our strong race pace. We just need to have a trouble-free race. We hope for good weather so we can enjoy the riding during the 24-hours. So let’s see how it will go and let’s fight until the end.”
Xavi Forés: “Obviously, it was a bit unexpected for me to finish the Bol d’Or weekend so early. It was a big shame to be taken out on track due to another rider’s mistake and to not be able to race this weekend. It also hurts especially as we are fighting for the victory and for the title. So it’s not only painful for my shoulder but also for my heart that I can’t help the team in that task. My target is now to try to recover as fast as I can to be ready and in a good shape for the season finale in Most. All the best to my team-mates and to the team for the race – I cross my fingers for them for another podium and more strong points for the championship.”
Kenny Foray: “First of all, I am really sorry for Xavi. That was not the plan and I know that it is very difficult for him. I wish him a speedy recovery. I am ready for the race. I feel good on the bike, I love this race, I love this track and I love this bike. I will give my all and am confident that we can have a strong race.”