News 16 Apr 2010

EWC: Damian Cudlin top Aussie in opening Le Mans qualifier

The battle on the track was intense on Thursday afternoon for the first qualifying session at Le Mans, round one of the 2010 Endurance World Championship in France.

At the average time of the three riders, it’s finally the Kawasaki GSR of Julien da Costa, Olivier Four and Grégory Leblanc who took the best, ahead of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team of Vincent Philippe, Guillaume Dietrich and Freddy Foray and the Honda Michelin Power Research Team of William Costes, Hugo Marchand and Josep Monge.

Newcomer in the Endurance scene, the Honda BMP Elf 99 took a fantastic fourth place on the provisional starting grid, thanks to the fastest guy on track this afternoon, Matthieu Lagrive with Werner Daemen and Australian Damian Cudlin.

The BMP Elf 99 is ahead of another Honda, very well known in Endurance, the National Motos of Sébastien Scarnato, Emeric Jonchière and Sylvain Barrier followed by the current world champions Igor Jerman, Aussie Steve Martin and Gwen Giabbani on the world champion Yamaha Austria Racing Team.

The Suzuki RAC 41 City Bike confirms their potential to play with the big guns as they signed the seventh place with Greg Junod, Greg Black and Olivier Depoorter.

They managed to contain the BMW Michelin at the eighth place. The official BMW has to go through another dramatic change: Sébastien Charpentier would just give up as he does not have any feeling on the bike and he is not fast enough. Sébastien Gimbert, Erwan Nigon and Bertrand Stey, who was previously the spare rider on the Honda Michelin PR, will finally race the BMW Michelin.

Still struggling with their Bridgestone tyres, Yamaha France GMT 94 Ipone is far from the pole position with a tenth place after the first qualification session. The official Yamaha is behind the Suzuki from Junior Team LMS (Cédric Tangre, Lucas de Carolis, Baptiste Guittet) leads the Superstock class ahead of the surprising Andalucia BMW of Alvaro Molina, Camille Hedelin and Augustin Rosival, and the Yamaha Bikerdays of Gregort Fastré, Denis Bouan and Raymond Schouten.

Some other permanent teams are pointing in the top 20, which gives them a spot in the Superpole sessions: BK Maco Moto, RMT 21 Racing Germany, AM Moto Racing, the Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers, Bolliger Team Switzerland, RT Moto Virus and Folch Endurance.

The second qualifying session will take place on Friday morning, with Superpole scheduled for the afternoon.