YART Yamaha took the top spot on the Bol d’Or starting grid after a hotly fought second qualifying session at Le Castellet this morning. The Austrian team’s three riders, Loris Baz, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa, all set a fastest lap under the 1:54 mark. YART Yamaha were the only team to demonstrate such a consistent performance in the lead. Loris Baz, who is making his debut appearance in a race on the Paul Ricard circuit, also set a new lap record in qualifying: a 1:53.408.
“I enjoy endurance racing,” says Loris Baz,“but it’s not always easy to juggle the World Superbike and Endurance calendars. I’d like to thank my team, Ten Kate, for letting me race here as the stand-in for Broc Parkes, and I’m thrilled to be back with Mandy Kainz’s team, with whom I’ve kept in touch ever since our first encounter in 2011.”
YART Yamaha also scooped the first points to be awarded in the 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship. Mandy Kainz’s team pocketed the 5 bonus points for taking pole position.
Webike SRC Kawasaki France’s Jérémy Guarnoni, Erwan Nigon and David Checa will start from second position on the grid. The French Kawasaki-mounted team – the reigning champions – will start just ahead of Japanese F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike di Meglio).
BMW ready for a podium battle
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team started their maiden foray into the FIM EWC by taking fourth spot on the starting grid. The factory BMW has been entrusted to Ilya Mikhalchik, Julian Puffe and Kenny Foray.
Another BMW – the Team ERC Endurance bike – is fifth on the grid, with riders Mathieu Gines, Julien da Costa and Louis Rossi.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team will start from sixth place. Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black had hoped for a better position, but Greg Black’s flying lap was cancelled because of a red flag during his session this morning.
Tati Team Beaujolais Racing (Alan Techer, Kevin Denis and Julien Enjolras on Kawasaki) took a praiseworthy seventh position on the grid, just ahead of the fastest Superstock teams.
Superstock duel in store
In the Superstock class, a tussle has begun between Kawasaki-mounted Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto (Enzo Boulom, Christian Gamarino and Kevin Manfredi) and the Moto Ain (Yamaha) riders Roberto Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Hugo Clère.
The 56 competing teams will be back on the track tomorrow (Saturday) at 11.30am for the warm up, the final test run before the start of the 83rd Bol d’Or at 3pm.