Apr 1, 2012
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Mattieu Lagrive (94) on the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube YZF-R1.
Bol d'Or Opens the 2012 Endurance Season with Strong Yamaha Presence
The 2012 Endurance World Championship will start in just two weeks time with the iconic Bol d'Or 24 Hour race on the 14th and 15th April. The season opener marks the first of five events that concludes at Le Mans on the 8th and 9th September with the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours. This season will see a number of teams working with Yamaha and running the new 2012 YZF-R1.
The Endurance Championship continues to be the ultimate test for both the Yamaha YZF-R1 and its riders. Man and machine are put to the test for up to 24 hours of non-stop racing in all weather conditions, a true test of racing pedigree.
Among the Yamaha competitors is the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube team. The Paris based team led by Christophe Guyot will be using the new traction control equipped 2012 model Yamaha YZF-R1. The rider line-up for 2012 remains unchanged from last season. Riders David Checa, Matthieu Lagrive, Kenny Foray proved to be a winning combination on the YZF-R1 with victory at the 8 Hours of Doha and ultimately third place in the 2011 Endurance World Championship standings.
Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube Team Manager:
"Our pre-Bol d'Or esting has ended on a positive note," said Guyot after the test held on the Magny Cours 4.4km long track . "Everything went perfect although Matthieu was unable to ride the second day because he had high fever. The performance of the new Yamaha R1 is good, as we experienced during previous tests at Ledenon and Nogaro. The traction control works really well. With this technology we make a lot of progress, the riders are much more comfortable under acceleration and we are more efficient because we can accelerate much earlier. Finally, we can utilize the Michelin tires to the fullest. It is much easier to choose tires that are effective over a much wider range. The riders are delighted. Our fastest lap during testing in 2011 was 1'43.6. Our fastest lap last year was 1'42.4. We were able to do consistent lap times in the 1'41 range. All three riders are on the same level. We completed a total of 280 laps with 2 bikes and have had no concerns at all. Important is that we encountered no major problems during these tests and we are quite happy about that! The whole team is now focused to work on the many important details to resolve before we get to the Bol d'Or."
Another Yamaha equipped team, YART Monster Energy Yamaha is also preparing for the season ahead with the new 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1. The 2009 World Championhip winning team will be aiming for the top step of the podium again this year as well. YART's rider line up also remains unchanged with riders Gwen Giabbani, Igor Jerman and Steve Martin starting in this year's Bol d'Or race. Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who replaced Jorge Lorenzo at the end of last season in MotoGP, will join the Austrian team for the Suzuka 8 Hours race and for the 8 Hours of Doha. YART also announced Steve Plater as the fourth rider for both 24-hour races, the Bol d'Or and Le Mans 24 Hours.
YART Monster Energy Yamaha Team Manager:
"We had two good tests at the Michelin official tire test at Mugello on the 13th and 14th and on Magny Cours on the 23rd and 24th of March," said Mandy Kainz, YART Monster Energy Yamaha Team manager . "We have tried different chassis set-ups and we found one that suits all riders well. We didn't only match last year's pace but managed to be consistenly quicker compared to last year. Steve Martin was suffering from the flue at Magny Cours but Igor and Gwen where up to speed. All riders are quite happy with the bike, no complaints at all. The R1 works really well and we are now making our final preperations for the first race of the season."
YART Monster Energy Yamaha:
"After more than six months of not racing, I could finally jump back on the bike in early March," says Gwen Giabbani. "After my injuries sustained during the pre-race sessions at Le Mans late August last year, my race for the championship was over. Mandy Kainz, team manager of YART aked me to join for the 2012 season and I joined the team for two days of testing at Mugello. I'm really pleased with the performance of the Yamaha R1 and the Michelin road tyres."
The Folch Endurance Yamalube Team has once again committed to the entire 2012 World Endurance Championship. The Spanish team will also use the 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 for their Iberian trio of riders: Daniel Ribalta, Arturo Tizon IbaÃ±ez and Roberto Martinez Caballero. Unlike the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube and YART Monster Energy Yamaha who compete with Michelin, Folch Endurance Yamalube will participate with Pirelli as their tyre supplier.
Team DGSPORT enter their second year in the FIM Endurance World Championship in the Superstock category. Team DGSPORT, winner of the last 2011 Superstock class race in Doha, will have three riders on the new Pirelli shod 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1: Didier Van Keymeulen, Gianluca Vizziello, Alex Cudlin. Raymond Schouten will be their back-up rider.