The official free practice session set the ball rolling at the 84th Bol d’Or, held on a track that was tricky after the night’s rain. Although fine weather is forecast for the weekend of the race, this final session of tweaks on a damp track is important because the first qualifying session will take place this afternoon under a threatening sky.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France were the fastest in these conditions, posting a 2:00.490 final lap. Yoshimura SERT Motul, who had achieved the best performance until then, took second place with their 2:02.210 lap.
Surprisingly enough, 3ART Best of Bike posted the third-fastest time in free practice: a 2:03.352. Their performance was thanks to Matthieu Lagrive, an experienced rider who can boast four Endurance world champion titles and six wins at the Bol d’Or.
3ART Best of Bike’s independent Yamaha was ahead of Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, Wójcik Racing Team, ERC Endurance-Ducati and YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team.
The best Superstock teams, Team 33 Louit April Moto (Kawasaki) and RAC41 ChromeBurner (Honda) entered the Top 10. The leaders in the category did not go after the fastest time in the free practice session. Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore were 13th and National Motos 20th after a minor crash.
The crashes during the private test on the Paul Ricard circuit early in the week have had some after-effects. The Moto Ain rider Randy de Puniet hurt his neck but will race, as will Alan Techer, the Tati Team Beringer Racing rider who suffered a foot injury.
But Gregory Leblanc, a mainstay of Maco Racing, has had to throw in the towel. The Slovakian team’s Yamaha #14 has been entrusted to a cosmopolitan team comprising the Australian rider Anthony West, German rider Marc Moser and Czech rider Ondřej Ježek.
The riders will be back on the track at 2.50 this afternoon for the first qualifying session.