by Toni Börner.
YART Yamaha has made the pace in this morning’s Free Practice session for the 83rdBol d’Or, the 24 hours of Le Castellet. German rider Marvin Fritz quickest overall so far.
The session was held with sunny skies and hot temperatures and could well be the only dry session of the day with rain being forecasted for this afternoon’s Qualifying.
YART Yamaha (Niccolo Canepa, Loris Baz, Marvin Fritz) were the quickest on track, with all riders going underneath the 1:54 minute bracket. Fritz posted the so far quickest time of the event by 1:53.569.
The reigning World Champions of SRC Kawasaki made their official debut on the starting number #1 and got into second. Jeremy Guarnoni was the only non-YART-rider that went under 1:54, with Erwan Nigon and David Checa being around a second slower than their team mate.
In third place it was the F.C.C. TSR Honda France bike of Mike di Meglio, Josh Hook and Freddy Foray, with their Fireblade now back on #5.
It was a good first official session for the new BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team (Ilya Mikhalchik, Julian Puffe, Kenny Foray). Mikhalchik had a crash but was reported to be okay and soon after back on the bike. The team got into fourth position, 0.994 seconds behind YART. Despite his come off, the recently newly re-crowned IDM Superbike Champion Mikhalchik was the fastest man of the trio. He posted the 1:54.563 time.
The Suzuki Endurance Racing Team #2 (Etienne Masson, Gregg Black, Vincent Philippe) also had a solid start into the weekend by taking fifth, just 1.023 behind Fritz’s pace.
With Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, BMW and Suzuki, there were five different manufacturers in the Top-Five.
In seventh, the reigning Superstock World Cup Champions of Moto Ain took the best spot for their category.
German rider Lucy Glöckner, who made the headlines at the Bol two years ago when fighting for the final podium spot with #111 Honda rider Sebastien Gimbert, which got decided by less than a second in unfavour of the fast lady, had a crash going onto Mistral straight but is fine apart of some bruises and abrasions.
It is also the European debut for the #71 Suzuki JEG – KAGAYAMA team from Japan. Gregory Leblanc, Naomichi Uramoto and Chris Leesch took a solid 15th.
The #100 Hertrampf Racing Ducati Panigale again was a headliner, with Arnaud Friedrich, Marco Nekvasil and Bobby Bos ranking in 34thposition.
The Free Practice crash history reads as follows: #37, #456, #56, #98, #91, #22, #31, #26.