YART Yamaha put down their markers on the Portuguese track hosting the FIM EWC final this Saturday during the first timed practice sessions at Estoril this morning. The Austrian factory team were faster than F.C.C. TSR Honda France and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team.
Three of the teams came in under the 1:40 mark on the Estoril circuit this morning. YART Yamaha topped the timesheets with a 1:39.157 lap by Karel Hanika in the first free practice session of the 12 Hours of Estoril. The Austrian team have made it clear they are fighting for the race win and the world title in spite of a 45-point gap to Suzuki Endurance Racing Team in the provisional standings.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team went out on track to pull off very similar performances: a 1:39.317 for the Honda and a 1:39.370 for the BMW. The two teams are equally determined to topple Suzuki Endurance Racing Team from the top spot.
The factory Suzuki squad were close behind with the fourth-fastest lap of the morning, a 1:40.186. Their minor crash towards the end of the session is unlikely to shake Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s confidence.
The two best independent teams are already battling it out in 5th and 6th place. The fight between fellow Yamahas saw Wójcik Racing Team take a slender lead over VRD Igol Pierret Experiences.
ERC Endurance Ducati and Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar, both in preparation and fine-tuning mode, posted the 7th and 8th place respectively ahead of LRP Poland and 3ART Best of Bike.
In Superstock, No Limits Motor Team posted the 13th-fastest time ahead of Moto Ain, the leader in class.
The first qualifying session this afternoon will throw up a clearer picture of the pecking order.