Looking to build on their session topping performance in Thursday morning’s official free practice session, YART Yamaha mastered the mixed conditions to finish the first day of qualifying action at the top of the timesheets, +1.317s clear of the chasing pack.
With rain disrupting Thursday’s running, the team knew that the second qualifying sessions held on Friday would be crucial to maintain their top spot. Hanika was first on track and improved his time by +1.590s compared to his best effort on Thursday, setting a 1:36.895 which matched their best time of the weekend. Attention then turned to German rider Marvin Fritz who stormed to the top of the timesheets by +0.843s. The 1:36.517s set by the 2016 IDM Superbike champion meant that YART Yamaha was in prime position to hold the lead and claim pole position.
Canepa was the third rider to take to the track; the Italian’s session was interrupted due to a red flag incident when the 2017 World Endurance champion sat at the top of the timesheets. However, he then slipped to second and failed to improve his time on his final run, but it was enough to secure pole for the team.
With Canepa’s times and those of his team-mates, YART secured pole by 0.193s and will start ahead of the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.
The team head into Saturday’s race full of confidence, with all three riders showing fast and consistent pace, all lapping similar lap times during their long runs. They also showed consistently quick pace throughout Thursday’s night practice, finishing the session on top.
The Wojcik Racing Team also had a strong qualifying session. Gino Rea, Axel Maurin and Broc Parkes set the ninth fastest time with an average of 1:38.170, +1.464s off their fellow Yamaha squad. Meanwhile, TEAM MOTO AIN will start 12th as they look to extend their advantage over the Wojcik team at the top of the independent championship standings and their lead in the FIM World Cup-Teams classification.
YART’s pole position sees them gain an extra five championship points, moving them closer to the top three in the championship on 48 points.
The 43rd edition of the 24 Heures Motos will get underway tomorrow at 12:00 local time with YART Yamaha looking to turn pole into their first win at the French event since 2009.