8 Hours of Doha: BMW 99 Leads Thursday
2011 Endurance World Championship
The stakes are very high for the 8 Hour Endurance race in Doha. During the first qualifying session this afternoon in Qatar each team presented their best assets. BMW Motorrad France 99 was still the fastest with their S1000RR power, Michelin tires and three very homogenous riders.
All three riders lapped the Losail racetrack in the low 2’00’s. Sin second place and using on Dunlop tires, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team approached their competitors very close. Nevertheless, a consequence-free crash of Vincent Philippe eroded their confidence, even a little. The 2011 world title will be decided between these two teams.
After this first day of practice, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team leads the two, official Yamaha mounted teams on the provisional starting grid. With Katsuyuki Nakasuga riding in 2’00.598, Monster Yamaha YART outperformed Yamaha Racing France GMT 94 Ipone. The two teams are competing for a final podium spot in the 2011 world rankings.
The Swiss Kawasaki Bolliger Team and the Spanish Yamaha YMES Folch Endurance are keeping a close distance, almost in an ambush, ahead of the best Superstock mounted team, the Van Zon Boenig Motorsportschool Penz13 RT. The Superstock race promises to be disputed between the Van Zon Boenig Motorsportschool Penz13 RT and the Yamaha of DG Sport, who has entered the race in Doha with a brand new team, with riders Hugo Marchand, Josep Monge and Raymond Schouten. The Honda TT Legends has presented a change of riders since Cameron Donald broke his wrist when he fell climbing stairs some days ago. Glen Richards has now replaced Donald on the official Honda.
In the Superstock class, the Suzuki No Limits Motor Team did well, scoring a tenth place overall on the provisional grid. There is a lot of focus in Doha on the women’s team, riding the Qatar Endurance Racing Team, who took a very honourable 22nd place on the grid.