The Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) and GMT94 Yamaha are ready for tomorrow's 24 heures Moto at Le Mans. They kicked off the 2015 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) by qualifying in second and sixth place respectively today.
Having displayed their blistering pace during the first qualifying session yesterday, when they clocked the second fastest time in the combined classification, the YART team took their pace to yet another level today, the breaking new fastest ever lap record for Le Mans by 0,248s.
Max Neukirchner was the first rider of the Austrian team to take the number 7 YZF-R1 to the Circuit Bugatti - Le Mans in qualifying two. The German set the tone by clocking a 1'36.969 for second place, 0,073s off the front in the classification of the first riders.
Second rider Ivan Silva followed in his teammates footsteps by posting a 1'38.061, 0,231s off the front for third place in his session.
The second qualifying was concluded with Sheridan Morais, leading the third rider qualifying session with a 1'37.935 when, with eight minutes on the clock, the session was red flagged. However, the South African rider kept his head cool. Already in the pits he seized the moment to get some clear track and soon posted a new track lap record of 1'36.578, increasing his lead in the classification of the third riders to 1,328s.
Combined the YART team members rode an average time of 1'37.202 and scored second place in the combined qualifying sessions classification, just 0,014s from pole.
Raining World Champion team, GMT94 Yamaha, was also able to make a big step today.
Though riding with a knee injury, sustained by a crash during Tuesday's test, David Checa was able to successfully complete the second qualifying session with eighth place. He posted 1'39.108 lap, 2.210s off the lead in the classification of the first riders.
Kenny Foray took over the number 94 YZF-R1 from his teammate and dropped a fifth fastest time of 1'38.356, 0,526s from the second rider session leader.
Mathieu Gines was the last rider of the French team to qualify. He rode a strong stint and, despite a short interruption of the third rider session, still managed an 1'38.073, claiming third in the third riders classification, 1,495s off the front.
GMT94 hold sixth place in the combined qualifying standings, having rode an average time of 1'38.466.
After today's positive results, both teams look forward to tomorrow when the 24 hours of non-stop racing action will start at 3pm local track time.
Max Neukirchner - Monster Energy Yamaha YART rider
"We are really happy with the results. All three of the riders are really fast and we have a real good team. Of course you need a little luck when you ride a 24 hours race, but we feel good and all riders have top level of fitness, so I think we will have a good race tomorrow."
Ivan Silva - Monster Energy Yamaha YART rider
"As a team we are quite happy with the results and for myself I'm happy with my lap times. I'm very happy with the bike. It allows me to ride very consistently, also in the night. We have a real good package, which could bring us victory, but of course you always need a bit of luck on your side."
Sheridan Morais - Monster Energy Yamaha YART rider
"Today was really good, after yesterday we knew all the riders, including Damian our spare rider, were very fast. It was a matter of getting a clear road, because there is so much traffic. When I was in for a tyre change there was a red flag situation, which was fortunate for me, because I then managed to get quite a clear lap and ride a really good time. The ideal time would be a lot faster, but we were far ahead of everybody else and I'm very happy for this. I wish my teammates could have had some clear track also, because I think then we would definitely have gotten pole position. Second or first doesn't really matter though, because it's only 2 metres difference at the start. I'm very, very happy. On a brand new bike we did a very good job."
Mandy Kainz – Monster Energy Yamaha YART Team Manager
"We were told we were on pole, although I thought weren't. As it turned out they made an error and we are in second place. Nevertheless today was quite a good day for us, we could show a good pace. We were lucky with the traffic, so we could manage the lap times we expected and broke the Endurance track record. It's really exciting when you realise that this is more or less a stock bike and that with small modifications it can do lap times like this. What Sheridan did today with extreme traffic of 60 bikes on track is incredible. His time is close to three seconds off the pace of Marc Marquez in the MotoGP, which is incredible. Sheridan and this bike fit perfectly together; they love each other and are in perfect harmony, so they enjoy the ride and go very fast."
David Checa – GMT94 Yamaha rider
"I crashed on the first day of testing and hurt my leg. Every day it goes a bit better, but still I'm struggling a little. We tried some things on the bike, but I didn't feel very confident. My teammates improved a little, which is good. If the race had been a day later it would have been better for me. I can't be happy with qualifying, because I'm not a 100%, but I know we have a good rhythm for the race, without having to push to the limit, so for me it's ok. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. The main thing is that we all do our best during 24 hours, like we usually do. Sometimes the fastest team doesn't win the race, but the most intelligent or the luckiest team. Last year we won the championship without winning a race. We know this bike is completely new and we need more information to improve. It's a really good bike but we have not enough data to be on the same level as last year right away, but step by step we will arrive."
Kenny Foray – GMT94 Yamaha rider
"Yesterday was difficult, because David crashed in the first qualification and after that it was a little bit hard for Mathieu and me to ride, because the bike was not ready. We tested a lot of things; new parts and a new tyre. Today's qualification was ok because, although they predicted rain the track was dry. The feeling with the bike was better and we could push a little more to improve our lap time a little. Still we are not quite satisfied with our lap times, but the race will be different. The race is 24 hours and we feel that we can do something good. You never know what's going to happen during the race and maybe a 1'39 or 1'40 can even win the race. We will see, we are ready for the race!"
Mathieu Gines – GMT94 Yamaha rider
"Today was better than yesterday, because I won a half of a second in the qualification and that's better for us. The best part was last night during the night practice, when the feeling was even better, so I think we have a really good bike for the 24 hours moto. Being fast in qualifying was not our strategy, we work for the race. Results in Q1 weren't very good, but during night practice we were third or fourth, so the strategy for the race is very good."
Christophe Guyot - GMT94 Yamaha Team Manager
"I'm satisfied. Only David didn't improve because of his crash yesterday. Of course, if he was able to do the same lap times as Kenny and Mathieu it would be even better, but I am very happy. The bike is working well and the riders are confident and we are fast with the race tyre so we can do something great. Sometimes racing can be strange, sometimes you can be happy with a sixth or seventh place and sometimes you are second and not happy, that's racing. Yesterday it was difficult and now all our riders are in 1'38 and our pace can be good. Maybe not enough to win, I don't know, but we can do something very well. We want to play the championship, but first we need to finish the race."
Overall classification qualifying – 24 HEURES MOTOS
1. SRC Kawasaki, Kawasaki ZX 10R, 1’37.188
2. Monster Energy Yamaha YART, Yamaha YZF-R1, 1’37.202
3. Honda Racing, CBR1000 RRSP, 1’37.855
4. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, Suzuki GSXR 1000, 1’37.948
5. BMW Motorrad France Team PENZ13, BWM S 1000RR, 1’38.074
6. GMT94 Yamaha, Yamaha YZF-R1, 1’38.466
7. Tati Team Beaujolais Racing, Kawasaki ZX 10R, 1’38.908
8. Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki, Suzuki GSXR 1000, 1’38.938
9. Qatar Endurance Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX 10R, 1’38.939
10. Team Bolliger Switzerland, Kawasaki ZX 10R, 1’38.990