The tension between Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and Team Kawasaki France was evident today in what was the first day of testing on the Magny-Cours circuit for the 71st Bol d’Or.
Situated in pit stands close to each other, both teams have the opportunity to decide the title during this fifth and penultimate round of the 2007 QMMF Endurance FIM World Championship.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team sit at the top of the provisional classification with 32 points just ahead of TKF, having achieved the best time in today’s first session of test qualifying.
The average times of the Suzuki number one riders; Vincent Philippe, Matthieu Lagrive and Julien Da Costa, enable them to be placed temporarily in first place on the starting grid.
The Kawasaki number 11 ridden by Steve Plater, Gwen Giabbani and Julian Mazuecos, achieved the second best time, with Julian Mazuecos lacking pace during the practice.
To preserve their main bikes SuzukiEndurance Racing Team and TKF brought in their reserve machines. Both teams finished in front of Suzuki number two's William Costes, Guillaume Dietrich and Max Neukirchner, who signed-off with the third best time.
Just behind was Kawasaki Maccio Racing who were represented by Erwan Nigon, Hugo Marchand and Damian Cudlin.
Yamaha Austria Racing Team, ridden by Igor Jerman, Steve Martin and Sébastien Scarnato finish off the top five.
Hoping to break into the top three, Yamaha GMT 94 only managed sixth place in today’s first tests.
Christophe Guyot, Team manager of 94, attributed their low placing to the lack of competition of the team in endurance (David Checa and Sébastien Gimbert both ride in the World Supersport Championship).
Following today’s training session, Christophe Guyot has announced that new tyres will be fitted in time for tomorrow morning’s second tests.
The first of the Superstock machines was the Junior LMS Team who also performed well at the Le Mans 24hr. The Junior LMS Team came ahead of Profil + Dap 91 and Kawasaki Bolliger Switzerland.
The pressure was clearly on for all of the teams testing today at Magny-Cours, with numerous accidents taking place throughout the day.
Vincent Philippe came off his Suzuki number one, as did Denis Bouan riding for Honda National Motos, Hugo Marchand riding for Kawasaki Maccio Racing and Patrick Piot on his Yamaha Power 113. All pilots were unscathed.
This evening the crews will be back on the track again for night testing. The final grid will be announced after the second tests on Friday morning. Friday evening will see the public invade the stands for the traditional pit-walk.
The race begins on Saturday, September 15, 2007 at 3pm.