The second qualifying round for the 24 Heures Motos took place this Friday morning. Like yesterday, the 1st pilots (blue armband) will compete ahead of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th pilots (yellow, red and green armband respectively), with each group of pilots having 20 minutes to break the times.
A crash by the #101 Yamaha marked the beginning of this second qualifying session. Its pilot, Austrian Gerold Gesslbauer, got up unharmed, leaving the pack to fight. Hook (Honda #5), Reiterberger (BMW #37) and Hanika (Yamaha #7) were in that order at halftime, with significantly better lap times than the day before. Former MotoGP rider and current Canal+ advisor Randy de Puniet struggled at the handlebars of a #11 Kawasaki and was still reluctant to take the lead since stepping out of the truck.
With seven minutes left, Karel Hanika opened hostilities by successively setting two new course records in 1’35”337 and then 1’35”066. Gregg Black followed him in 1’35”272 on his defending Suzuki. Unleashed, the Czech hit the nail on the head at the very end of the session and clocked an exceptional 1’34”878 on his #7 Yamaha!
The #37 BMW of Illya Mykhalchyk initially dominated the second part of qualifying. The session was halted after David Perret crashed at Dunlop corner. In this high-speed crash, BMW #9 broke apart, fork ripped off. David Perret was evacuated, conscious and thumbs up, on a stretcher.
A little over twelve minutes remained for the resumption. Léonard Vignat crashed on his first flying lap (Kawasaki #56). Shortly after, it was Javier Forés who made a mistake (Ducati #6) before getting his machine back into the pits. No mistake on the contrary for Gino Rea (Honda #5), best time in 1’35”186, or Marvin Fritz (Yamaha #7), 2nd in 1’35”282.
After going seven thousandths off his time for the first time the day before, Niccolò Canepa lost control of the #7 Yamaha at the Chapelle corner. First up was Mike di Meglio (Honda #5) who was the fastest of the session at 1’35”683, generally slower than the first two.
But Sylvain Guintoli went into overdrive with 5 minutes to go in 1’35”535 (Suzuki #1). Not enough to dethrone the Yamaha #7 of Yart Yamaha Official Team EWC trio Hanika/Fritz/Canepa.
One bike did not compete in this session as the Falcon Racing Team decided to keep their #121 Yamaha for the race.
Before the start at 3 p.m., the participants of the 24 Heures Motos will meet tomorrow at 9 a.m. for the last training session, the traditional warm-up (45 minutes).
Top 5 overall (cumulative qualifying sessions):
- Yamaha #7 – Yart Yamaha Official Team EWC
- Suzuki #1 – Yoshimura Sert Motul
- Honda #5 – FCC TSR Honda France
- BMW #37 – BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team
- Ducati #6 – ERC Endurance Ducati
Top 3 Superstock (cumulative qualifying sessions):
- Yamaha #18 – Team 18 Fire Brigade CMS Motostore
- Honda #55 – National Honda Motorcycles
- Yamaha #94 – Team LH Racing