Yoshimura SERT Motul has completed First Qualifying for the 24 Heures Motos – the opening round of the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship – at the top of the provisional order following an action-packed session in mixed conditions on the Circuit Bugatti in Le Mans today.
Gregg Black was fastest among the Blue Rider group for Yoshimura SERT Motul, clocking a 1m37.506s best on his final lap of the 4.185-kilometre track, which had dried following earlier rain. The 20-minute session had been halted 11 minutes from the end after Florian Alt and Lucas Mahias both fell on oil dropped at the entrance to Le Musée bend.
Marvin Fritz then set the pace late on in the Yellow Rider group for the YART Yamaha team with a best lap of 1m35.616s, closely followed by Illya Mykhalchyk (BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team) on a 1m35.685s. But there was more drama when F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Mike Di Meglio and Sylvain Guintoli (Yoshimura SERT Motul) also crashed.
Karel Hanika was on top for the Austrian squad out of the Red Riders but, on a fully wet track, last year’s polesitter could only manage a 1m47.868s, as James Westmoreland (Honda Viltaïs Racing) was the quickest of the Green Riders on a 1m44.945s.
At the end of the four 20-minute sessions, Yoshimura SERT Motul heads the provisional unofficial order on 1m37.153s, followed by YART Yamaha (1m37.242s), F.C.C. TSR Honda France (1m37.764s), Moto Ain (1m38.096s), Honda Viltaïs Racing (1m38.420s) and ERC Endurance Ducati (1m38.617s).
In the Dunlop-equipped Superstock category, which counts for the FIM Endurance World Cup, Team 33 Louit April Moto heads Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team and 3ART Best of Bike in the unofficial provisional order.
French Superbike champion Kenny Foray was quickest for Tecmas-MRP-BMW Racing Team in the Superstock Blue Rider session, Johan Nigon excelled for Honda No Limits in the Yellow Rider group before former EWC champion Mathiu Lagrive (3ART Best of Bike) took his turn to shine among the Red Riders as EWC rookie Luca De Vleeschauwer went quickest for Energie Endurance out of the Green Riders.
Since 2022, EWC qualifying results have been based on the average time of the fastest two riders at the completion of the final session, meaning the starting order for the 46th 24 Heures Motos can’t be determined until after Second Qualifying on Friday morning. But with forecasts suggesting more wet weather, the Le Mans-based Yoshimura SERT Motul squad could well start at the front as it bids for a third consecutive win in the legendary EWC season opener.
Night Practice is up next from 20h30 local time ahead of Second Qualifying getting underway at 10h20 on Friday. Click HERE for all the First Qualifying results.