Even though Tuesday’s are free testing sessions not organized by the event promoters themselves and they do not belong in any respect to the Bol d’Or on official notice, there was a plenty going on this Tuesday at the Le Castellet Paul Ricard Circuit.
The biggest revelation of Tuesday’s test is the change in starting numbers for the reigning World Champions of SRC Kawasaki. Gilles Stafler’s squad had entered the Bol applying with their familiar #11. During today’s test, the ZX-10RR of Jeremy Guarnoni, Erwan Nigon and David Checa was seen using the Champion’s #1 – and soon after the entry lists got updated, so we will have a proper number 1 once more.
Most notably it seems Xavier Simeon is out of the event already. The #333 Viltais Yamaha rider crashed in the afternoon coming out of turn 2, the session had to be red flagged. Simeon is reported to have a dislocated shoulder and a broken hand.
There was big carnage in the first session around lunch time, when the #66 Sarazin Motorsport Yamaha’s engine blew and two bikes went down on the oil. Stephane Egea of the #55 National Motos Honda was more than lucky to escape an “already” crashed bike to pull out the safe of the weekend already.
This week also marks the long awaited debut of the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team with Ilya Mikhalchik, Julian Puffe and Kenny Foray. To up their development game, they even fielded Bastien Mackels as their reserve rider. The team did a hard work this past two weeks after the Pre-Bol test and rode some back to back sessions today to compare two bikes.
When the #100 HRT-100-Hertrampf Racing Endurance Ducati Panigale V4R first fired up this morning, the whole pit lane came together to get some of the noise of the Italian beauty.
The bike is now ridden by Marco Nekvasil, Bobby Bos and Arnaud Friedrich – and for sure a talking point in the paddock. If you are able to talk anything whilst this bike fires by that is. Passing on the Mistral straight, the Hertrampf-Panigale is making the other bikes of the field sounding like e-Bikes and you clearly hear where the V4R is on track.
Ducati seem to take this project more seriously than previous “just make it to the finish” projects as a Ducati Corse technician was spoted in the pits of Denis Hertrampf.
At Bolliger Kawasaki #8, the recently injured Roman Stamm is back in the saddle.
Watch out for the reserves
Even though the expression “reserve riders” has disappeared in the Endurance racing for a while, the rider green group is packed with talent and could easily form some winning teams for the race, just there are not enough teams and seats available – and there are 59 teams already.
Karel Hanika is a stand in rider at #7 YART Yamaha, Jan Bühn and Ondrej Jezek at #6 ERC Endurance, as well as above mentioned Bastien Mackels at #37 BMW EWC. Put those together in a extra team and you could have a good run for the glory at this year’s Bol d’Or.