GRT Yamaha Dominate Qualifying in Magny-Cours
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team riders Federico Caricasulo and Lucas Mahias dominated proceedings today in Magny-Cours, with Caricasulo claiming pole position for Round 10 of the FIM World Supersport Championship and teammate Mahias qualifying in second place to lock out the front of the grid. Alfonso Coppola bounced back from a difficult day yesterday to qualify 27th for tomorrow's 19 lap race.
It was Mahias who struck first today, topping the timesheet in FP3 and setting himself up for the 15-minute Superpole session. The Frenchman, sporting special leathers and a unique helmet design to commemorate his home race, also set the pace early in qualifying, flying to the top of the timesheet when the session was resumed following a red flag.
Mahias looked to have pole position secured as the session drew to a close, but an incredible last lap from Caricasulo saw the Italian scything through traffic to dip under the existing pole record and deny his teammate pole position for his home race.
It was the exact opposite of Imola earlier in the season, when it was Mahias who denied Caricasulo the honour of starting his home race from the front of the grid.
Tomorrow is critical for Caricasulo's championship aspirations. The Italian lies third in the standings and just 20 points behind series leader Sandro Cortese, a gap he is keen to close further with a strong result in the race.
After a difficult day yesterday, when technical problems sidelined him from both free practice sessions, Coppola bounced back today with a solid performance in FP3. The Italian youngster improved his lap time by more than a second in qualifying, before a crash brought his session to a close. Coppola is now looking to end his season on a high tomorrow, with a good result in the race.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - P1 - 1:40.416
"I'm really happy because we did a lot of work on the bike yesterday to improve both my rhythm and my lap time and that paid dividends for us in qualifying today. I'm pleased with the lap that secured me pole position, but even more important is that I know I have good pace for tomorrow, in what will be a critical race for the championship."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - P2 - 1:40.568
"I'm happy to be starting from the front row but, of course, I'm a little bit disappointed to have missed out on pole position for my home race by such a small margin. I'm confident for tomorrow, because we worked hard during free practice to set up the bike for the race, but the bike also worked well in qualifying and it was possible to push hard for the lap time. It's a good result for the team and for Yamaha, because the two official riders are one-two on the grid for tomorrow. I'm expecting a bit of a fight with my teammate; he beat me to pole position for my home race but then I did the same to him in Imola, so I guess we're equal now!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - P27 - 1:44.253
"Today was much better than yesterday when I missed both free practice sessions. This morning in the final free practice I managed one run of nine laps to get a feel for the bike and the circuit, with no stops for setting changes. The set up was good for qualifying, where I posted my best lap time of the weekend, improving by one second, but a crash meant I only got two flying laps. During tomorrow's warm up it will be important to find a good setting on the bike for the race."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - Team Manager
"Today was definitely a very good day! We have now reached a very good level, where we expect Federico and Lucas to be at the front from the first practice onwards. And they never disappoint, like today when we saw them qualify first and second on the grid. It shows that the team and Yamaha are working very well. Lucas posted a very fast lap time after the stoppage because of the red flag, but Federico managed to go just that little bit faster right at the end, securing pole position with an incredible lap, despite coming across traffic in the final sector. The team did a great job dealing with the red flag so close to the end of the session, quickly deciding on the correct strategy for both riders. Alfonso was unfortunate to crash in qualifying today, but he managed to improve his lap time after missing out on practice yesterday and he is focused for the race tomorrow. A great job by the riders and the team today, and thanks to Yamaha for giving us the package we need to be at the front. It is an important race for us tomorrow, but we start it from the front of the grid, and that's a big advantage."