Yamaha Qualifies Second And Third For LeMans 24-Hour

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Kawasaki qualifies on pole, but Yamaha are not far behind.

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Yamaha Impress with Strong Le Mans Qualifying Performance

The YART Yamaha Official EWC and GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Teams have both shown their impressive capabilities ahead of tomorrow’s 40th edition of the FIM EWC 24 Heures Motos with strong performances in qualifying. The overall qualification classification sees YART Yamaha in second and GMT94 Yamaha just behind in third.

YART Yamaha Official EWC riders Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Kohta Nozane have been clear of their race intentions from the first laps of the legendary Le Mans weekend, with Australian Parkes setting a scorching 1’35.966 on Bridgestone tyres in yesterday’s first qualifying to take provisional pole. The hot lap set a new lap record for the Bugatti circuit with Parkes being the only rider to drop under the 1’36 mark. Teammates Fritz and Nozane kept the team’s pace up, giving the team a best average lap of 1’36.402 for the provisional pole.

Today’s second qualifying sessions saw the temperatures lower than yesterday, and with a huge amount of traffic on track, finding a clear lap proved challenging. Despite this Parkes, Fritz and Nozane kept the pressure on, finally securing second overall, just 0.033 from pole. The result shows promise for the race as unlike the pole sitters on qualifying tyres, YART Yamaha Official achieved their times on their race tyres.

GMT94 Yamaha Official’s David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Mike Di Meglio were able to put match their fellow Yamaha riders, putting the YZF-R1 to good use on the first day of qualifying. Young Italian Di Meglio was able to lay down an impressive 1’36. 601, which, when combined with Canepa and Checa’s times placed GMT94 Yamaha provisionally second, just 0.536 from YART on top.

The French team were back on track again and today focused less on qualifying and more on perfecting their race pace set up. As the fastest running Dunlop team on the grid, GMT94 were also not using qualifying tyres, but were able to secure third for tomorrow’s race with an impressive pace on race tyres resulting in an average time of 1’36.322, closing the gap to the top to just 0.428.

In the Superstock class it was again Yamaha who looked threatening. The Yamaha Viltaïs Experience Team were flying. Riders Axel Maurin, Bastien Mackels and Florian Alt took the Superstock pole position, and were just 5th overall, just over one second from the top of the overall timesheets.

Broc Parkes

YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

I think we’re in good shape for the race because the lap times that we’ve done during qualifying and all weekend so far have been on our race tyre. Bridgestone didn’t bring a qualifying tyre here, but honestly I’d prefer to have a good race tyre here than a qualifier anyway. Unfortunately we just missed out on the pole by a fraction. This morning the conditions were a little bit cool for me so we didn’t get the ideal lap time, but for the race we feel really confident. The tyres are great over distance; sometimes we can make the best lap time after 20 or 30 laps. This puts us in a strong position so I’m really happy with what Bridgestone has brought for us. This year I think we are going to be even stronger and more consistent during the race.

Kohta Nozane

YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

I’m really enjoying the experience of being here at Le Mans with the team. Every session I’m working to improve and get smoother, which is my natural style. Unfortunately the track has a lot of traffic in each session that makes it challenging to settle into a rhythm of smooth laps. I know the Bridgestone tyres well as I ride on them in the Japanese championship, but the feeling is a little bit different here, especially as there is a new surface on the track, so I’m learning this as well. I’m so happy with the YART Yamaha team, it feels very familiar, I’m really enjoying being part of it, and I have so much respect for my fellow riders, they are so fast! The feeling is really good between us and we are laughing a lot.

Marvin Fritz

YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

My qualifying was good and my lap time was not so bad. Yesterday I had a lot of traffic but was able to make a good time with a 1’36.5, and today also I was able to make a good time with the race tyre. I’m happy for the pace and for the tyres. Unfortunately we just missed the pole, but we made all our qualifying laps with race tyres, so we are on good form. We are three strong riders, so I hope we can make this a great show tomorrow.

Mandy Kainz

YART Yamaha Official EWC Team Manager

Qualifying is not so easy because we don’t use a qualifying tyre, we go with race tyres, but that means we are confident for the race. We know Pirelli is fast with qualifying tyres and GP riders! It’s very hard today because we couldn’t find a free lap, all our riders struggled to find the space in the traffic to enjoy a clean run. It was close at the end but when Kohta was on his last lap it was red flagged so we lost the chance to continue. The team has worked really hard to be ready for the race so let’s see what we can do.

David Checa

GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team

As usual I struggle a little bit on qualifying, but anyway we are the first Dunlop bike on the grid in third. My teammates did a really good job and the team has worked hard to prepare the bike for the race. I’m quite satisfied, for sure without pole you cannot be 100% happy, but for the race we are good. If it’s cold we will definitely be stronger. We have a good bike, good tyres and good teammates so for sure tomorrow we can make a good race.

Niccolò Canepa

GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team

I’m really happy, I improved my lap time from yesterday by half a second, that was really good. We already know that there are some tyres that work better in qualifying practice and some tyres that work better in the race conditions. Dunlop tyres work better in the race, so third position in qualifying is a really good result. I’m relaxed for the race, I know all three of us have a good pace and I feel comfortable on the race bike so we can do a good job this weekend. I really want to start!

Mike Di Meglio

GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team

Today was nice and we improved a little bit more. We don’t have a qualifying tyre, just a soft tyre with which we were able to make a small step with our race pace. That is the most important thing and it’s feeling good. The team is working really hard, the bike is very constant and we three riders are looking consistent also. We need to see how consistent our competitors will be but it’s looking like a very interesting race.

Christophe Guyot

GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team

We are very happy, third on the grid is ok. This morning we worked a lot on the race bike; Mike and Niccolò did a stint on it to make sure everything is ok for tomorrow. We have tried many things to be sure and made the final checks. Our race pace is really good, but today with a soft tyre it was difficult to improve on it. The new asphalt is very different here, you have a lot of grip and you need a very hard compound on the rear. With our soft compound the bike moves a lot and feels quite strange. Anyway, our race tyre is a harder compound which is strong for the race. We only have one solution for the rear tyre so no mistake is possible, whether it is cold or hot, so for Dunlop and for us it is fantastic. We may not be very fast when it is very hot, but that is only between 3pm and 7pm, so during the night I think we can do something great.

Final Qualifying Results

2. YART – Yamaha Official EWC Team 0.033
3. GMT94 YAMAHA Official EWC Team 0.428

4. TECMAS – BMW 0.711
5. Yamaha Viltaïs Experience 1.009
6. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team 1.047
7. F.C.C. TSR Honda 1.491
8. Honda Endurance Racing 1.586
9. Bolliger Team Switzerland 1.629
10. LMD63/ULTIMATE CUP 1.726
11. Team 33 Accessoires – Louit Moto 1.757
12. Team R2CL – MKS – Partelya 1.909
14. Team April Moto Motors Events 2.110
15. Junior Team LMS Suzuki 2.111

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