2023-07-24 12:48
Sylvain Guintoli topped the yellow group qualifying

The FIM Endurance World Championship returns to the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the 24H SPA EWC Motos. It’s the second of three 24-hour races on the 2023 FIM EWC calendar.

Having performed well in an extremely busy pre-race practice and qualifying day, the Yoshimura SERT Motul will line up in third position on the starting grid for the race that starts at 14h00 CET Saturday 17th June.

Following free practice, the riders took to the track for the two back-to-back qualifying sessions on Friday with the Suzuki GSX-R1000R.

Gregg Black in the Rider Blue group was the first rider to start. He took full advantage of the Q1 (first qualifying session), when the track temperature was not too hot, to set the second fastest provisional time with a best lap of 2.20.057. He didn't improve on his time in the Q2 (second qualifying session), opting to leave the new tires to his team-mates.

Sylvain Guintoli, who performed very well in his Q1 session with 2.20.559, was even more impressive in the Q2 session with new tires, climbing to the top of the Rider Yellow group timesheets with a time of 2.20.512.

Etienne Masson also topped in the Q2 session, in his Rider Red group, with a time of 2.21.286. But like most riders, he set his best time in the first qualifying session with a fast lap of 2.20.966.

Averaging the two best times of its riders, the Yoshimura SERT Motul took an overall qualifying time of 2.20.285 and collected three points in the process.

Yohei KATO – Team Director
"We're very happy with this qualification today! It was very hot, much hotter than last year. So, it was quite difficult to set up the bike and find the grip, but all three riders set some good times. After our unfortunate 7th place at Le Mans, we need to pick up some precious points here at Spa and put in an intelligent race to stay in contention for the world title."

Damien SAULNIER – Team Manager
"Unlike some of our rivals, we haven't been here for testing since last year. To set the 3rd fastest time in qualifying is very satisfying. We're already taking points, which is very good. Conditions were better this morning than they were this afternoon, when the track was approaching 40°C. Our three riders are on the pace, with consistent times. And they all have a great feeling on the GSX-R1000R. We lost a lot of points at Le Mans so we need to attack in the race and I think it's going to be a great show. Despite everything, we want to keep a safe zone so as not to take the risk of making mistakes."

Gregg BLACK – Rider Blue
"We arrived here a little bit behind some of the teams because we haven't ridden our GSX-R1000R since Le Mans. But the whole team put in a huge amount of work on Wednesday, which enabled us to attack qualifying well prepared. I was able to set a good time in the Q1 because we knew that it could play now because the track temperature was rising as the hours went by. For the Q2, we decided to leave the new tires to my team-mates so that they had the opportunity to improve their times, which was the case for Sylvain. In the end, we finished third in qualifying, which is a good result."

Sylvain GUINTOLI – Rider Yellow
"We had good qualifying sessions. The Q1 certainly offered better track conditions, but I didn't really manage to get a clear lap. Despite the rise in temperature, I still managed to improve my time in the Q2 with fresh Bridgestone tires. In the end, we're third, which is good. We have a good race pace. It's going to be a tough race but we're well prepared physically and the bike is very well set up."

Etienne MASSON – Rider Red
“I'm quite happy with my qualifying, even the rising track temperature prevented a time attack in Q2. The biggest positive point for me is that I have a very good feeling with the GSX-R1000R! I don't have a very good memory of my Spa 24h last year with another team where I never really felt at ease on the track. This year, things are going much better and there's perfect cohesion with my team-mates. So I'm confident for the race."

Source: Redcat News

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