The YART Yamaha Official EWC Team will line up in second place for the start of the 42nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans tomorrow, after Marvin Fritz, Niccolò Canepa and Broc Parkes qualified the YART R1 in second position during today’s final timed sessions.
It was a carbon copy of the result from Thursday’s opening qualifying session, which YART Yamaha also finished in second place. But while the gap to pole position yesterday was already close at 0.092s, today the YART Yamaha trio cut the gap to just 0.028s, only missing out on pole position as a result of Parkes hitting traffic during his qualifying runs.
While only one rider, former MotoGP protagonist Randy de Puniet, dipped under the 1’37s mark yesterday, the second and final qualifying sessions today saw all three YART Yamaha riders consistently in the 1’36s bracket, with their times set on race rather than qualifying tyres.
The four points for second position overall means that YART Yamaha move up from third to second in the championship standings ahead of tomorrow’s race, which gets underway with the traditional Le Mans style start at 15.00 CET.
Qualifying Time: 1’36.336
“We attended the Le Mans tests ahead of the race but, because of the inclement weather, we didn’t really get many laps in the dry, only in the wet. In qualifying yesterday, we worked to make improvements to the bike in the dry on race tyres, with positive results. Today we went with the softer option race tyre for the second qualifying and I had a really good feeling from the start. I think we have the strongest team and, after qualifying in P2 and so close to pole position, everything is in place for a good race.”
Qualifying Time – 1’36.581
“I’m really happy with qualifying, as I had a really good feeling with the bike and we were able to do fast and consistent lap times on race tyres. We’re in a good position going into the race. The bike and tyres are working well, the weather looks like it will stay dry and we have three strong riders on the YART R1. I’m looking forward to the start tomorrow and, hopefully, come three o’clock on Sunday we will be finishing with a good result.”
Qualifying Time – 1’36.959
“It was a little bit of a mixed qualifying because I didn’t really get a clear track. I did manage two quick laps on the soft tyre but even they were done in traffic. It meant my ideal time was much better than my actual qualifying time. Anyway, I feel good on the bike. We worked hard to improve the set-up over the past few days and I think we’ve got good pace for the race. We have three strong riders so the team, the Bridgestone tyres are working well and even the weather looks like it’s going to work in our favour. Overall, we’re looking really strong for and I’m really looking forward to the race. I think that, if we can stay out of trouble, then we’ll be able to fight for a good result.”
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team Manager
“It was again a very close qualifying and even though we missed out on pole position by just 0.028s, one of the smallest gaps ever, we are very happy with the performance. Second in qualifying gives us four points more and moves us to second in the championship, as well as giving us a good starting position for the race tomorrow. We did our qualifying times on race tyres, as Bridgestone don’t bring qualifying tyres, so we know we have a good pace for the race. I think we have one of, if not the strongest package on the grid, so let’s see what the race will bring.”