On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, 51 of the 60 teams entered for the 42nd annual 24H Motos took part in non-mandatory tests on the Bugatti circuit. With 17 days to go before the big race, this was an opportunity to gauge form. The next time the machines will grace the famous Le Mans track is Thursday 18 April, when official practice begins for the 24H Motos.
A near-complete field gathered at the Bugatti circuit to test performance ahead of the 2019 24H Motos, the second round in the 2018-19 FIM EWC World Endurance Championship on 20-21 April. The tests are key to team preparation and the ideal opportunity to see how riders and machines measure up to each other. Journalists from 35 media outlets were present at the Bugatti track to report on the action. Several outfits elected to run two bikes. The track was wet for the first day and dry for the second, an excellent scenario for experimenting with settings. The two days produced several falls, but none serious enough to put any rider out of the race.
Fastest during the tests, Team SRC Kawasaki France clocked a 1:36.403 lap with the #11 Kawasaki, an auspicious performance, faster than the best qualifying lap last year (1:36.446) set by Randy de Puniet on the same machine. New Team SRC Kawasaki France recruit Erwan Nigon commented: “The track was very cool for the tests, which could have caught us out. It’s good experience for the race. Everything feels right: the bike, the tyres, the team. It’s going to be great. We’re really fired up.”
YART’s #7 Yamaha was second fastest on 01:36.526 and the Austrian team’s other R1 took third place on the time sheets with 01:37.443.
In the superstock category, Moto Ain’s #96 Yamaha topped the tables with 01:39.101 ahead of OG Motorsport By Sarazin’s #66 Yamaha and the RAC41 #41 Honda.
Sporting innovative front suspension, the #17 Kawasaki fielded by ITeM 17 lapped quickest in the Experimental category, with 01:39.596.
Next date to note for race fans, bikers and motorcycling enthusiasts is Wednesday 17 April. All 60 teams entered for the Le Mans 24H Motos will convene at the Bugatti for the scrutineering sessions followed by a photo call in the city centre where the motorcycles will be on display and plenty of race-related fun will keep the public entertained. The customary pre-race driver brief rounds off the day. The first official practice sessions take place on Thursday 18 April.