Rd.1 - 24 Heures Motos 2024 - Qualifying

Schedule 2024.04.18 , 04.19
Circuit Bugatti Circuit
Rider Gregg Black / Etienne Masson / Dan Linfoot / Cocoro Atsumi
Qualifying 2nd

Yoshimura SERT Motul qualified in second for the 24 Heures Motos

The team is gearing up for the 2024 season with determination. The Franco-Japanese team is once again fielding a quartet of high-performance riders in pursuit of another world title. Frenchmen Gregg Black and Etienne Masson, who between them have 24 Heures Motos victories, are joined in 2024 by British rider Dan Linfoot and Japanese Cocoro Atsumi as reserve rider.

Yoshimura SERT Motul, which has been at the famous Bugatti circuit since the start of the week, took part in two qualifying practice sessions on Thursday and Friday. Taking advantage of more favourable weather conditions, the Suzuki GSX-R1000R riders put in their best performances in the final session, which took place from 10.20am to 12.00pm (local time) on Friday.

First to take to the track, Gregg Black improved his time significantly with a very fast lap of 1’35.096. He was the second fastest in the Rider Blue, just 0.009 of a second off the top rider.

Etienne Masson also distinguished himself in the Rider Yellow session, and finished at the top position with a best time of 1’35.664.

In the wake of his team-mates’ performance, Dan Linfoot also managed to improve his personal performance. With a time of 1’35.259, he topped in the Rider Red session in Q2.

Qualifying concluded with the reserve riders’ session, in which Cocoro Atsumi confirmed the great potential of the #12 Suzuki GSX-R1000R by setting a time of 1’37.890, the best of the Rider Green.

Yoshimura SERT Motul finished second in qualifying, with a time of 1’35.176, the average of its two best times. This position gives the team its first four points in the championship.

The 12 Suzuki GSX-R1000R will start the 47th edition of the Le Mans 24 Heures Motos in the best possible conditions on the grid as it aims for another victory. The famous Le Mans start takes place at 3pm (local time), on Saturday the 20th of April.

Yohei Kato – Team Director
We had several incidents in practice, three yesterday and one today. We’ve been working hard to find the causes and avoid this happening again in the race. I’m happy because our latest qualifying sessions, which were very positive, show that we’re on the right way. For the race, we’re ready to fight for victory. But we need to avoid making any mistakes throughout 24 hours. I have a strong motivation to reach the top with my team, not just at Le Mans, but also at the other races of the season.

Damien Saulnier – Team Manager
We moved up from fifth to second place in qualifying, so the results are positive. A few crashes gave our restructured technical team some work to do this year. This enabled us to get familiar with the race conditions by working and anticipating them. Things are going well for the riders too. While Gregg and Etienne are still solid performers, Dan has quickly found his feet on the bike. He set some great times today. And Cocoro also fits in perfectly with this group dynamic. All that bodes well for the race. Now we’re going to have to be both cautious and fast, which remains a tricky strategy to put in place.

Gregg Black – Rider Blue
It was a bit of a risk to bet on today’s session with cooler conditions. But it paid off. I’m pleased to have improved my personal best on this circuit. I was even in a position to set a time of 1.34 but with the traffic and the different pace from some of the competitors, it wasn’t possible. The team has worked well this week because we all have a good feeling and a fast pace on the bike. Everyone is very motivated to keep up the momentum of the last round at Bol d’Or, which ended our 2023 season with a win.

Etienne Masson – Rider Yellow
We chose to focus on the second test session. For us, it was the right option. I did improve my times today, but I think I could still have done better because when I set off on my new tire, I ran into a lot of traffic. It was a shame. Qualifying gives you a chance to express yourself and it’s always good to see if the work we’ve put in over the winter is paying off. I couldn’t give my best this morning, but that’s not too serious. The most important thing is that we have a very good bike for the race. The confidence is there, and we have big payback to take here at Le Mans.

Dan Linfoot – Rider Red
It was my first time on the new qualifying tire, so I’m very happy to have set a good time. It’s a good way to start the first race with the team. Qualifying is certainly not of vital importance for the race. The most important thing is to have a good feeling on the bike, which has been the case today. Yesterday wasn’t perfect for me, but that’s part of the learning process with the Bridgestone tires. The race remains the main objective. I’m trying to be consistent and safe. We’re hoping for victory. That’s the clear goal for the team and what we all want to achieve.

Cocoro Atsumi – Rider Green
I am happy the team took second overall in qualifying. I joined Yoshimura SERT Motul as a reserve rider at the final round in 2023 and quickly became fully involved in development and testing in Japan. I am so happy that my team-mates are improving their times with the GSX-R1000R that I’ve been working on, and I look forward to them showing the potential of the Suzuki during the race. Personally, I am happy with my time and qualifying results where I topped both Q1 and Q2 in my group. Through the week, the team has been in a good mood, and everyone is highly motivated. I have done my part so far as a reserve rider and I will support the team right the way through until the final chequered flag falls.

3F.C.C. TSR HONDA FranceHONDA CBR1000RR-R1’35.223