News 17 Apr 2009

HONDA FRANCE TOPS LEMANS QUALIFYING

FIM press release:

Honda France leads the pack after the first qualifying session at Le Mans. Matthieu Lagrive hammered once again his competitors by signing a new lap record, in 1’37.460.

With the average time of its three riders (Matthieu Lagrive, Sébastien Charpentier, Steve Plater), the official Honda leads the Honda Michelin Power Research Team. Michelin is the
best permanent team after this first qualifying session, and the man of the day is Hugo Marchand with a 1’37.610 lap, despite a crash early in the session.

Just behind Yamaha France GMT 94 is in third place with Sébastien Gimbert 1’37.678 lap.

This allows the official Yamaha to be ahead of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team. Yamaha Austria Racing Team is fifth on this provisional starting grid after the first qualifying session. The Austrian team is still battling with the final set-up of their new Yamaha R1, but YART still leads the Kawasaki GSR and their fastest rider Julien Da Costa. Honda National Motos is still carrying on serenely his way into the top 10. The Parisian team is ahead of Kawasaki Bolliger Switzerland, despite Patric Muff great 1’37.998 lap. RT Racing Team Moto Virus is also in the top 10 just behind the Junior Team Suzuki LMS.

The Junior is in ninth place and is the only Superstock motorbike that can pretend entering in the Superpole contest so far, even if the Yamaha Loïc Moto Racing with Patrick Piot, David Morillon, and Cyril Brivet is a serious contender in eleventh place.

The Yamaha BK Maco Moto Racing and Phase One Endurance were expected in better places. The Brits from Phase One reckons to be short of riding time with the new R1. The 46 teams engaged are all qualified for the start. The last on the starting grid is the twenty years old Honda RC 30 engaged by Moto Journal in the Open class.

The nocturnal tests will start tonight from 9 pm. The second qualifying session will take place tomorrow Friday from 11 am.

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