πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ 24h Spa Francorchamps 2023: ERC Endurance Ducati struggles to P11 in the grid πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§

Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. ERC Endurance Ducati will start the 24 hours motos of Spa Francorchamps from eleventh on the grid. The Ducati Panigale V4R EWC mounted squad of Xavi Fores (ESP), Jesper Pellijeff (SWE) and David Checa (ESP) had to fight more against the time table of Free Practice, Qualifying 1, Qualifying 2 and Night Practice in just one day (opposite to two at β€œnormal” EWC events), limiting the time for improvements. 

For almost all the Endurance paddock the Friday at Spa Francorchamps was more playing it safe than working for more improvements on the setup of the EWC-spec Panigale. The night practice session advanced to be the functional check for the race tomorrow, as there will be no warm up session on Saturday morning. Therefore the pit lane will be opened for 20 minutes prior to the grid procedure, giving the team the chance to pass the pit lane several times (without being allowed to stop for adjustments) before heading to the grid. 

It was a sunny and hot day at the Belgium’s Ardennes race track with the above mentioned problems. Fores did post a 2:21.913 minutes time, making him the fastest of the ERC. Pellijeff, who this week took his first insights on racing a Ducati, made further progress and went on to post a 2:24.450 min time. Checa took a 2:23.415 in the final outing of the first Qualifying. The team’s grid-forming average time of the best two times was set in 2:22.664 minutes and made up for eleventh on the grid. 

Still Fores, Pellijeff and Checa aim to claim as much points for the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship in tomorrow’s 24 hours of Spa Francorchamps race, starting at 14:00 o’clock local time

Xavi Fores:
Today was a hard day for us but we knew that from the beginning. Its our worst track on the calendar and we knew that. We were struggeling a lot with the grip on the rear and to keep the bike on the line. It was for sure not our best qualifying today but the race is going to be completely different so maybe we can put our pace on the race and try to stay close to the top six/seven for the race. Lets see what happens, because it will be very long and Spa is always very tough. Lets try to do our best and try to get some good points home for the championship.

Jesper Pellijeff:

I am very happy to be here with the Ducati team and the Ducati is a completely different bike to what I am used to. For me this is a thing to learn and for every session I went out I could go faster and I still have more to give. I have full 24 hours to feel the bike and start go faster. For me the important thing is consistency for the race and I am looking forward to ride this beautiful bike. 

David Checa:
For us this is the worst race in the calendar and we expected that already before. Last year was already difficult for us and this year with the hot temperatures we are struggling even more. But in Endurance you can never know what happens and we will do our best to score points and we will see at the end of the race.