The 24 Heures Motos got off to a start this afternoon with the first official tests of the 43rd edition on the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans. YART Yamaha fired the opening salvo, posting the fastest lap ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda France and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team.
Niccolò Canepa appears to be on a roll after his win for YART Yamaha at the 8 Hours of Sepang last December. The Italian rider posted the fastest lap of the first official tests of the 24 Heures Motos: a 1:36.879. YART Yamaha (Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa) were ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda France, who posted a 1:37.259 lap (Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike di Meglio) and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s 1:37.542 (Kenny Foray, Ilya Mikhalchik and Markus Reiterberger).
Two other factory teams rounded off the Top 5. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Etienne Masson, Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon) and ERC Endurance, the factory Ducati team, clocked very similar times.
One factory team did not make it into the leading pack. Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar were 9th-fastest with a 1:38.364. No cause for worry as yet though for the reigning champions, as Kawasaki have yet to fine-tune the settings of their ZX-10RR to their brand-new Michelin tyres.
A few challengers seized the chance to muscle their way into the Top 10. Wójcik Racing Team were 6th, ahead of 3ART Best of Bike and National Motos, with Tati Team Beaujolais Racing in 10th place.
In the Superstock class, the battle lines have been drawn between the contenders for the FIM Endurance World Cup. BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers got the better of Team Moto Ain, GERT56 by GS Yuasa and RAC41 ChromeBurner in the preliminary shootout.
The first qualifying session starts at 5pm this afternoon. The second will be held tomorrow afternoon.
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