BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com outpaces EWC world in Suzuka Qualifying
Suzuka, Japan. The BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com and its riders Markus Reiterberger (GER), Tommy Bridewell (GBR) and Bastien Mackels impressed with strong showings in today’s Qualifying sessions for the 38th 8 hours of Suzuka, the second round of the FIM Endurance World Championship.
This years 38th edition of the 8 hours of Suzuka saw a total of 84 machines entering the Free Practices and the Qualifying sessions, so that the field had to be split into two groups. The fastest five teams of Group A and B proceeded to tomorrows Superpole Shoot Out for the first ten spots on the grid. The BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com S 1000 RR went to group B.
Reiterberger broke under the 2:10 Minute marker today, reaching a 2:09,640 in the first and a 2:09,714 in the second session. The young Bavarian talent stated afterwards that 2:08 would not be a problem at all. Amongst the Rider 1 classification, Reiterberger landed on third in the combined results sheet.
Team mate Bridewell posted the quickest time of the squad pushing the boundaries to a 2.09,325. In Group B he ranked in second spot for the second riders, only three tenth behind FIM World Supersport rider Kyle Smith.
Mackels suffered a small crash during his first Qualifying attempt after already having posted a quick 2:11 time. The Beglium rider did not injure himself and also the BMW S 1000 RR didn’t get to big of a damage, after having lost the front in the fast and fluent section. Mackels was not able to improve himself further in the second Qualifying session using race rubber only. In the end he classed eighth in the third rider group B rankings.
Within this group B the BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com classed in front of all other permanent FIM World Endurance Championship teams taking part in this year’s 8 hours of Suzuka. Amongst those teams just Broc Parkes of the YART squad was a couple of tenth quicker than Reiterberger, but riding in Group A.
Kazuki Watanabe posted the best time of the day for TeamGreen in 2:06,656 Minutes with only three more riders able to lapping under 2:07: Amongst them the two time MotoGP™ World Champion Casey Stoner and former MotoGP™ podium finisher Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
Tonight’s night practice saw the BMW Motorrad France Penz13.com team classing in tenth in the overall field, posting a time of 2:11,165 Minutes.
I was set to go faster again in the second Qualifying but due to Bastiens crash earlier on I had to re-enter the pits shortly after I went out as I had to check the bike first. Then I got my Qualifyer tyre in which I was not able to get the full potential of as I was struck in traffic. With 2:09 time for the first time in Suzuka everyone says would be impressive, but I know for sure a 2:08 is possible.
My session started off very bad because I went out on a new tyre, did one lap and the red flag went out. Then I went back into the session with a new tyre which I had not ridden before and I lost the front. So for the second qualifying we did not have enough stickers for the tyres left and I had to use what was left from Tommy and Markus and I started to lose the front again, now on left and right and with that didn’t have the confidence to push more. That’s why I went out in the night practice first to get used to that type of tyre when it is new. Luckily I do understand now why I crashed, even though I am not happy with my Qualifying time.
We are getting there. We tried something else with the set up this morning and it worked out to be faster, but as well you have to push a bit more on the bike. We’ll discuss later on how we are going to proceed there, as it’s going to be a long 8 hours race on Sunday.
The achievement today is huge and just awesome. Our team is here for the first time as well as our riders Markus and Bastien are. Due to the rain hit test two weeks ago we had to start from scratch this weekend and then getting two riders under the 2:10 is just amazing. They’ve done all a brilliant job, not only Markus, Tommy and Bastien, but also the whole team.