The second round of the FIM Endurance World Championship got underway in blistering conditions as track temperatures soared to 55 degrees. The opening practice session saw YART kick off their race week with second on the timesheets, just 0.034 seconds shy of the top spot. In a good position ahead of qualifying, Niccoló Canepa got the teams' qualifying attack going.
Sitting out half of the session, the Italian took to the 2.59-mile circuit and immediately set a strong pace. The 33-year-old’s second flying lap was good enough to secure second place, three tenths shy of the session’s quickest time.
Like Canepa, Marvin Fritz was in no hurry to get on track for the second session. Leaving pit lane with ten-minutes on the clock, the IDM champion quickly showed his pace by setting a 1:39.362 on his second lap, putting him and the team at the top of the timesheets. Fritz further improved his time to end his 20-minute session 0.146 seconds quicker than his nearest rival.
Sticking with one tyre for the first qualifying sessions, Karel Hanika jumped aboard the number seven Yamaha R1 and quickly found his rhythm like his team-mates. Second on the timesheets after his first flying lap, the Czech rider continued to put in the laps, eventually finishing second, which was good enough to secure provisional pole ahead of qualifying two.
With cooler conditions for the final part of qualifying, YART had fresh Bridgestone tyres at their disposal for all three riders. Canepa kicked off proceedings once again and instantly put the R1 near the front of the timesheets. A 1:39.398 saw the World Superbike test rider end his first stint 0.605 seconds down on the leader but quickly jumped ahead on his second run as he set a 1:38.278 – ending the session in first place with two tenths over BMW in second.
The second session saw the return of the yellow armband riders, which saw Fritz back on track for YART. With the bike feeling how all three riders like it, the 28-year-old hit the track and instantly set the sessions fastest time. Putting a fresh Bridgestone tyre in for his second stint, Fritz became the first rider to dip under the 1:38’s, setting a blistering 1:37.857 to end the session half a second clear atop of the timesheets.
With one session to go, Hanika backed up his team-mates’ strong performance. Like Fritz, Hanika’s opening lap was good enough for first place, but there was still more time to find with the new tyre for the second stint. Leaving pit lane, the former Red Bull Rookies champion got his head down and immediately joined his German team-mate in the 37’s with a stunning 1:37.674, which saw him finish over seventh tenths clear.
Thanks to a fantastic qualifying performance, YART Yamaha have secured five world championship points as they claim their fourth-consecutive pole position and their second in a row in Estoril as they aim to repeat their race-winning performance of 2020.
The number 333 VRD Igol Experiences Yamaha running Florian Alt, Florian Marino, Nicolas Terol claimed a solid sixth place with an average time of a 1:39.681 as they hope to build on the impressive result secured in France.
Moto Ain had a solid qualifying performance, Pierre Chapuis’ team recorded the tenth fastest time. The Wojcik Racing Team will start from 15th place after Gino Rea, Michael Laverty, and Michal Filla recorded an average time of 1:41.413, with Wojcik Racing Team 2 three places ahead in 12th.
The 12 hours of Estoril will commence at 9am on Saturday, July 17th.