At 9:00 on the dot in sunny weather the riders took to the track for their exploratory laps. Right away a large number of teams went out to evaluate the grip of the new surface of the Bugatti circuit and the stop watch soon gave its verdict. The no. 1 Suzuki entered by the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team set the fastest time in 1m36.977sec, 1.7/10th of a second quicker than last year’s pole position set in qualifying for the 24 Heures Motos by the no. 13 Team Penz13.com BMW. The reigning world champions finished in front of the GMT94 outfit running two Yamaha R1s on this occasion, which were 4 and 7-tenths-of-a-second slower respectively. The no. 11 Kawasaki run by the Team SRC Kawasaki, winner in 2016, clinched the fourth-quickest time in front of the no. 7 Yamaha entered by YART Yamaha.
The no. 9 Eva Trick Star Racing Kawasaki racked up its first laps on the Bugatti circuit in 2017. This Japanese outfit was back at Le Mans for the first time since its participation in the 2013 24 Heures Motos. Its aim is a podium finish.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest used the midday break to hold its press conference inside the circuit presenting the event in front of more than 200 guests including the team managers and riders there for the tests. Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Jacques Bolle, President of the French Motorcycle Federation, Jean-Marc Desnues, Member of the CCR bureau of the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme), François Ribeiro, Eurosport Events manager, and promoter of the FIM EWC, and Frédéric Lénart, ACO general manager, gave details of the field and the many activities that will set the tempo of the four-days festival at the 24 Heures Motos. Pierre Fillon took advantage of the conference to announce the name of the starter of the event. The 24 Heures Motos and the Suzuka 8 Hours, the biggest endurance race in Japan, will both be celebrating a common anniversary, that of the 40th staging of their respective races. To celebrate these anniversaries and the links that unite the two cities, a Japanese delegation will be welcomed at the 24 Heures Motos, and Susumu Yamashita, President of Mobilityland, will give the start on 15th April at 15:00. This conference was also followed by more than 28 000 fans on the ACO digital medias.
The teams returned to the track at 14:00. Some used the session to do long runs while others took advantage of it to set up their bikes and do their tyre testing. But some went for times like the no. 7 Yamaha entered by YART Yamaha, which clocked the fastest lap of the day in 1m36.917sec. This bike is ridden by Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz, Kohta Nozane and Max Neukirchner. It was only 17 thousandths of a second quicker than the no. 11 Kawasaki.
The no. 9 BMW run by Tecmas-BMW put on a good performance with the fourth-fastest time of the day. The most remarkable news was that the first seven in the overall classification all finished in the same second! This promises a no-holds-barred battle in qualifying for the 24 Heures Motos
There was a nice surprise in the Superstock category as the no. 69 Kawasaki entered by the Écurie Chrono Sport set the best time. Ridden by Julien Pilot, Stéphane Pagani and Mathieu Dumas, it dialled in the tenth-quickest lap in 1m38.500sec in front of the no. 333 Yamaha entered by Yamaha Viltaïs Experience and the other Yamaha of the team LMD 63-Ultimate Cup.
The majority of the teams present today will test again tomorrow between 9:00 and 12:00 and then between 14:00 and 18:00 on the second and final day of the Pré-Mans tests.