Yamaha secure 1-2 in Qualifying at Oschersleben

2017-05-19 08:05
The GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC and YART Yamaha Official EWC teams have both shown their potential over two days of qualifying for the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, round three of the 2017 FIM Endurance World Championship, by securing a Yamaha 1-2 at the top of the combined timesheets. The two teams have been virtually inseparable all weekend, and it was the same on Friday as GMT94 Yamaha secured pole position for Saturday’s race by just 0.435s. Their rivals in the YART Yamaha team pushed them all the way in practice and qualifying, but had to settle for second, and everything is set up now for an epic battle between the two on Saturday.

The GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team of David Checa, Niccoló Canepa and Mike Di Meglio got straight into their rhythm on Thursday morning, finishing practice in third with a 1:27.173. If that served as a marker, Thursday afternoon’s qualifying session in warm and sunny conditions showcased just how competitive they can be at Oschersleben on the Yamaha YZF-R1 after the team ended the three sessions in provisional pole on average times. It was French rider Di Meglio who set the fastest time for the team on Thursday with a 1:27.196, whilst Checa & Canepa maintained this pace to record an average lap of 1’27.399.

After topping the night practice session, even overnight rain could not put them off, Di Meglio going out on Friday morning and setting the fastest time of the weekend, a 1:26.872. In the process, he became the only rider to break the 1:27 barrier in qualifying after benefiting from the use of a new tyre donated by his teammate Checa, who cleverly used an older tyre to allow him to rubber in the track first. As a result of this teamwork they managed to set an average best time of 1:27.158, securing top spot by the biggest margin of the weekend, 0.476s, despite a small crash for Di Meglio at the end of his qualifying session. The team will now look to carry this pace into Saturday’s race in an effort to close the 24-point gap to the championship leader in the standings.

The YART Yamaha Official EWC Team of Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Kohta Nozane also hit the ground running, finishing practice in second with a 1.27.167 and just 0.007s ahead of the GMT94 riders. This set the scene for what was to come throughout Thursday and Friday, and there was hardly anything to separate the two Yamaha teams in each session. Sharing almost identical equipment apart from their tyres, with YART finding their track performance with partner Bridgestone. It was always going to be close, and in Thursday’s qualifying Broc Parkes set a 1:27.292 to finish within a tenth of Di Meglio’s time. Fritz and Nozane also put in impressive stints and the team finished Thursday in provisional second, just 0.235s behind the GMT team.

Friday’s qualifying was a slightly different affair, taking place earlier in the morning and in chillier conditions. Having also chosen a harder tyre for the race and realising it would be almost impossible to beat their lap times from Thursday, the team decided not to risk too much on Friday. Parkes and Nozane spent their qualifying sessions in the garage, and only Fritz took to the track for a shake down of a new setting. With their average times unchanged from Thursday, they finished qualifying in second overall with an average best lap of 1.27.634. Despite not improving their times on Friday, the team are confident in the work they have done and feel confident that they can challenge for the win in Saturday’s race.

The excellent rivalry between the two teams is set to continue when the 8 Hours of Oschersleben kicks off at 14:00pm local time in Germany on Saturday for round three of the 2017 FIM Endurance World Championship.

David Checa David Checa
GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team

“Yesterday was really hot so we used the time to focus on race pace. Unfortunately, it rained a lot last night, and we didn’t know how the track would be today. After the rain, we knew we would have to rubber in the track today. As I was out first, I knew that Mike and Niccoló would be able to do a quicker time, so I used an old tyre and gave my new tyre to Niccoló. As you can see from the results, it worked, and the guys did a brilliant job. To secure pole position here is a great and I look forward to Saturday, but there is still a lot to do. It is great to get another Yamaha 1-2. We hope to win tomorrow, but we have to respect everyone and do our best, as we always do. The mechanics and whole team will give 100% and the target is to go out and win and to become world champions.”
Christophe Guyot
GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team Manager

“This winter we worked a lot on little things, like the electronics, suspension, radiator, and it seems to have worked very well! A pole position is always gratifying for the confidence of the riders and for Dunlop, who are very much invested in the team and have worked closely with us. The relationship between the riders is perfect, all three riders take pleasure in working together. This is definitely the key to our good performance.”
Broc Parkes Broc Parkes
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

“It’s been a pretty good few days! Yesterday we just went with one set of tyres and went with the harder option. Therefore, we decided today that we couldn’t improve enough to get pole position, so instead we focused on race pace and setup. I think for the race our tyre selection could be perfect, as they seem not to wear out and actually seem to get better and better as they get older, so they should be great for the long stints. Our rivalry with the GMT team is incredible! They are very strong here and have shown great consistency. However, in the race I feel we could be stronger once Marvin and Kohta have had a bit more time back on the bike. Whatever happens I think it will be a close race and I can’t wait to get started.”
Mandy Kainz
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team Manager

“We are quite happy with how qualifying went. In endurance racing it is sometimes more like an extra practice session. Yesterday we focused on race pace, today was all about saving tyres. We only use one set of race tyres and they are not good in the colder morning conditions, hence why we didn’t really go out today to do any laps. Marvin went out briefly to do a shake down, unfortunately he had a small crash, but he was absolutely fine. The bike is in perfect condition, and we are feeling very competitive. We are in for another tight fight with the GMT94 team, but feel we are in good shape and we are looking forward to racing tomorrow.”

Source: Yamaha Motor Europe N.V.

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