BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is set to start the deciding round of the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship on pole position for the second season running, as Markus Reiterberger smashed his team-mate Illya Mykhalchyk’s Bol d’Or qualifying lap record from last season.
German Reiterberger rode his Dunlop-equipped BMW M 1000 RR to top spot at Circuit Paul Ricard in a time of 1m51.596s, which eclipsed the previous benchmark of 1m52.267s recorded by Ukrainian Mykhalchyk during his charge to pole 12 months ago.
With the starting order for EWC races decided by the average time of a team’s fastest two riders from First Qualifying, which took place on Thursday afternoon, and Second Qualifying, which ran this morning, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team came out on top of the overall order ahead of Yoshimura SERT Motul and F.C.C. TSR Honda France.
The five points Werner Daemen’s outfit scored for claiming pole puts it on 105 in the provisional standings, 36 behind leader and defending champion F.C.C. TSR Honda France. Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team remains in second but is now 14 points down on F.C.C. TSR Honda France after it could only manage fourth place in the combined classification.
“It’s nice to be here at this beautiful track,” said Reiterberger, who is also partnered by French rider Jérémy Guarnoni. “Yesterday we started on the soft race tyre and my lap time was already very good, I could do this lap time alone. Today I tried to find the slipstream and this helped me to gain another few tenths. I want to say thank you to the team because our bike is incredibly fast. Our plan was to catch the pole position and win the race, this is what we have to do to have a chance for the title. We are ready for the race.”
In the Dunlop Superstock Trophy, which counts for the FIM Endurance World Cup, there was more BMW success with Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team coming out on top ahead of championship stalwart National Motos Honda and Wójcik Racing Team after the times of Loïc Arbel and Kenny Foray were taken into account to determine the category polesitter.
“We need to win the take the title,” said Frenchman Foray. “It’s a 24-hour race and it’s really long but the objective is to win the race.”
With Jan Bühn ruled out of the Bol d’Or after injuring a hand and foot in Tuesday testing, Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team has yet to finalise its rider line-up for the 24-hour race, a task complicated when reserve rider Nelson Major crashed and badly damaged the #9 BMW during Second Qualifying.
In the FIM Endurance World Cup title battle, National Motos Honda moves into second place, four points behind Chromeburner-RAC41-Honda, which finished outside the top-five scoring positions. Honda No Limits, which was fifth quickest, slips to third, five points off the lead.
Meanwhile, the highly competitive nature of the EWC was underlined with six different manufacturers represented in the combined qualifying order as ERC Endurance Ducati took fifth and Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar seventh behind Yamaha-powered KM99. The top three in the Dunlop Superstock Trophy featured three different makes as National Motos Honda and Yamaha-equipped Wójcik Racing Team completed the provisional podium behind Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team.
Elsewhere, Honda Viltaïs Racing – the 2022 Bol d’Or winner – was eighth fastest overall followed by TATI Team Beringer Racing and Team Moto-Ain
SECOND QUALIFYING REPORT: https://www.fimewc.com/news/reiterberger-revs-up-for-bol-dor-ewc-finale-with-second-qualifying-best
First Qualifying Blue Rider: Markus Reiterberger, 1m51.890s
First Qualifying Yellow Rider: Sylvain Guintoli, 1m51.695s
First Qualifying Red Rider: Alan Techer, 1m51.707s
First Qualifying Green Rider: Loris Baz, 1m52.705s
Second Qualifying Blue Rider: Markus Reiterberger, 1m51.596s
Second Qualifying Yellow Rider: Illya Mykhalchyk, 1m51.721s
Second Qualifying Red Rider: Karel Hanika, 1m51.882s
Second Qualifying Green Rider: Cocoro Atsumi, 1m53.675s
WHAT’S NEXT? The 86th Bol d’Or 24-hour race is scheduled to begin at 15h00 CET tomorrow (Saturday 16 September).
LIVE TIMING: https://www.its-live.net/#/live/ewc/2023/boldor/live
HOW TO WATCH: https://www.fimewc.com/where-to-watch