World Endurance: More From The 8 Hours Of Spa

World Endurance: More From The 8 Hours Of Spa

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Yamaha Motor Europe:

YART Yamaha Produce Perfect Performance to Win the 8 Hours of Spa Motos

The Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team of Niccolò Canepa, Marvin Fritz, and Karel Hanika, reigning FIM Endurance World Champions, were simply sensational as they dominated proceedings to storm to stunning back-to-back victories at Spa-Francorchamps and reduce the gap to the leader in the overall championship standings to just one point.

 

Yamalube YART Yamaha (1) wheelies across the finish line in Belgium. Photo courtesy Yamaha.
Yamalube YART Yamaha (1) wheelies across the finish line in Belgium. Photo courtesy Yamaha.

The weather, often a key factor at the legendary 6.985km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, stayed dry and sunny throughout the second round of the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC), and the thousands of fans that attended the event bore witness to one of the most dominant performances in recent memory.

Defending champions YART had laid down a marker on Friday by not only topping Free Practice, with Marvin Fritz setting an unofficial lap record of 2:18.551, but also by producing a commanding performance during qualifying. All three riders dominated their respective groups by showing blistering pace to ensure YART started from pole position and secured the five points on offer for securing pole position.

Fritz was not to be denied, and he got his hands on the official lap record on Friday afternoon after he set a 2:18.552 in his first qualifying session to beat Hanika’s 2:18.845 set in 2022. But it was not just the German who was fast, as all three YART riders managed to break the 2:19 barrier (the only ones to do so throughout the entire weekend) as the Austrian squad demonstrated incredible pace leading into Saturday’s race.

When the action got underway in the first 8 Hours of Spa Motos, following on from two 24-hour editions of the event in 2022 and 2023, it produced some thrilling racing, but no one could deny YART from making it two wins in a row at Spa. As always, strategy would prove to be critical during the race because while the Bridgestone-shod #1 R1 was undoubtedly the quickest bike on the grid in the hands of the YART riders, due to fuel consumption, the team knew that they would have to make one more pit stop than their rivals.

With that in mind, they needed to push right from the word go, and they could not have dreamed of a better first stint than that of Canepa’s. The Italian, who was still feeling the effects of his crash at the Daytona 200, got away superbly from pole and was in the lead by the end of the first lap. After a brief battle with championship rivals SERT, the 36-year-old put the hammer down and set the tone for the rest of the race as he blasted off into the distance. By the time of the first pit stop, he had sensationally created a gap at the front of almost ten seconds in one of the most electric opening stints in EWC history.

Fritz and Hanika then continued to set a punishing pace while showing incredible consistency to match their speed. As the race progressed, the trio were relentless and continued to push, incredibly getting quicker and quicker as the clock ticked down, eventually extending their lead to over a minute. All three riders were utterly faultless, and the team backed this up by not making a single mistake during the pit stops, as YART increased their advantage at the front on almost every lap.

Sticking to their strategy perfectly, they created a large enough gap to allow them to make an extra pit stop but still retain the lead, and with the end of the race getting closer, the win was there for the taking.

As is often the case, the experienced Canepa took the final stint, and he brought the YART R1 home to win the 8 Hours of Spa Motos by 40.145 seconds after completing 201 laps, to spark jubilant celebrations amongst the team and complete the perfect weekend. The victory, along with pole position, meant that the defending champions claimed the maximum 35 points on offer in Belgium and closed the gap in the EWC standings to the leader to just one point, with two rounds still to go.

It was a more difficult race for the Belgian-based KM99 squad of Jérémy Guarnoni, Florian Marino, and Randy de Puniet. After qualifying in seventh, a crash within the first half hour saw them drop down the timing screens. They mounted a strong fightback, only for a second crash to lose them more time, but they bounced back in the last couple of hours to finish in 16th overall and tenth in the Formula EWC class.

Up next for both teams is the 45th Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race in Japan from the 19th to the 21st of July.

 

Niccolò Canepa – P1 201 laps

Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

“I am thrilled because we won last year in the 24-hour race, and we have won again this year in the eight-hour race. Honestly, the performance has been perfect throughout the race weekend from all of us, from the team to the tyres, and of course, my teammates were incredible. Despite having to make one more pit stop, we managed the strategy perfectly and stuck to our plan to secure victory, and now we have reduced the gap to the championship leaders to just one point with two rounds to go.”

Marvin Fritz – P1 201 laps

Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

“It was the perfect race. We won, set a new lap record, and we each topped our qualifying groups, plus we managed to secure the maximum points for the championship. I could not be more proud of my teammates and the entire YART team; we did an amazing job. We pushed right from the start of the race because we knew we had to make one more pit stop than our competitors, and Niccolò could not have got us off to a better start. Karel and I continued that way, and we were all setting an amazing pace for the rest of the race. The team did a superb job with the pit stops, the Bridgestone tyres were great, and the bike felt amazing. Honestly, it was the perfect performance, and to stick to our strategy and not make a single mistake was incredible. It was very special. Last year, we won with the #7 bike; this year, we won with the #1 on our R1, and I could not be happier. Bring on Suzuka.”

Karel Hanika – P1 201 laps

Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

“It feels amazing to win for the second year in a row here at Spa. I had a difficult race in Le Mans. I wasn’t at my best, and my crash cost us the victory there. So, I had to reset and focus on getting back to my best. It definitely took me a bit more time to get up to speed during Private Practice, but lap by lap, my confidence came back, and by qualifying, I was feeling really good on the bike again. In an eight-hour race, it is easy to make a mistake, as it is more like a sprint, but the whole team was faultless, and we produced an incredible performance. I am happy that I was able to bounce back like this, and my team and teammates are so good it is unbelievable. We have a great atmosphere in the team, and I could not be prouder of what we have achieved here in Spa. I want to thank the whole team and everyone at Yamaha and Bridgestone who supported us; this win was for you. We are already looking forward to Suzuka.”

Mandy Kainz

Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team – Team Manager

“What a performance! The whole team have been incredible since we arrived on Thursday, working tirelessly to produce a performance like this. I am so proud of them all. The riders were faultless today and showed what we are capable of. The bike was superb, and when we combine everything like we did here in Spa, I truly believe that we are unstoppable. Obviously, this is endurance, so there are lots of factors to take into account, but this weekend, we pulled off the perfect race. To secure back-to-back victories at this track is also special, and I want to thank everyone from the team, Yamaha, and Bridgestone, for providing us with the perfect package. We managed to secure the maximum championship points, and now we are just one point behind the leaders, so it is game on for Suzuka.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Racing:

APRILIA RSV4 WINS THE EWC AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

FIRST VICTORY IN THE SUPERSTOCK CLASS FOR AVIOBIKE BY M2 REVO TEAM

 

Aviobike and Nuova M2 Revo (111) won the Superstock class at Spa on an Aprilia RSV4 1100. Photo courtesy Aprilia Racing.
Aviobike and Nuova M2 Revo (111) won the Superstock class at Spa on an Aprilia RSV4 1100. Photo courtesy Aprilia Racing.

 

The Aprilia RSV4 won the 8 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the second round of the 2024 FIM Endurance World Championship. This outstanding result underlines the competitiveness and reliability of the RSV4 1100 in its second appearance in the Superstock class.

The team, made up of experienced rider Kevin Calia, along with Luca Bernardi and Francesco Cocco, in their first appearance in this track, delivered a flawless race, taking the Aprilia RSV4 1100 to victory in the Superstock class. This is a remarkable display of strength, given that this is only Aprilia’s second appearance in the Superstock class.

MASSIMO RIVOLA

APRILIA RACING CEO

“It’s incredible to take the Superstock win in our second Endurance race of the season. Congratulations to Luca and Kevin for the win, to Aviobike and Nuova M2 Revo for the great teamwork. Spa-Francorchamps is a track where Formula 1 usually races, it’s incredibly fast and has some dangerous points, such as the famous Eau Rouge. To see the RSV4 competitive and reliable is a sign of the quality of the product, which makes us proud”.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Yoshimura SERT Motul:

YOSHIMURA SERT CONSOLIDATES ENDURANCE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD

Yoshimura SERT Motul put in a solid and consistent performance at the 8 Hours of Spa Motos to finish second, earn valuable championship points, and maintain its FIM Endurance World Championship lead.

 

Etienne Masson (12). Photo courtesy Yoshimura SERT Motul.
Etienne Masson (12). Photo courtesy Yoshimura SERT Motul.

 

Having won the opening round of the 2024 FIM EWC season at Le Mans, Yoshimura SERT Motul went into the 8 Hours of Spa Motos with a nine-point championship advantage. Determined to maintain its lead, the Franco-Japanese team put in a strong qualifying session which saw the team qualify in third.

The team’s holeshot supremo, Gregg Black, blasted from third place on the starting grid to lead into the first corner. He quickly settled into a fast race pace that allowed him to fight at the front of the race with the four best teams in the field. Etienne Masson and Dan Linfoot kept the Suzuki GSX-R1000R pinned at a high pace throughout their stints, maintaining the team’s strong position.

Yoshimura SERT Motul is renowned for its efficient and rapid pit stops and the crew didn’t disappoint at Spa. Super-quick turnarounds between riders, allowed them to keep in touch with the leading team.

Tyre grip was an issue with rising track temperatures, however, Yoshimura SERT Motul worked brilliantly to avoid the many pitfalls on the Belgian track.

Yoshimura SERT Motul secured second place on the podium at the 8 Hours of Spa Motos. The team left the Belgian event with 88 points and continues to lead the championship.

The next round of the 2024 FIM EWC season will take place at in Japan for the famous Suzuka 8-Hour from the 19th to the 21st of July.

Yohei KATO – team director

“I’m happy with the result, but frustrated nonetheless, because we gave everything, we had to win knowing that YART had one more pit stop to make. We did everything we could to maintain a gap of less than 40 seconds, but we were struggling because of the heat, and we were losing time. Apart from that, we rode a solid race and that’s the most important thing.”

Damien SAULNIER – team manager

“It was an intense week. We’re still aiming for victory, however, in this fast race, where our main rivals were very competitive, we set ourselves the target of a podium finish – mission accomplished. Our riders were fast, and we made the most of the pitstops. We’re building our season around winning the title. It’s a great result and I’m very satisfied. This result means we can go to Suzuka still leading the championship. It’s important for the team and for Yoshimura.”

Gregg BLACK – rider

“We’ve finished 4th here twice. Our goal this year was clearly to finish on the podium. Of course, a win is always what we want, but the championship remains our priority, so we didn’t want to give everything and then take too many risks. We made a good start, but the track conditions weren’t particularly favourable. The bike worked really well, and the team did a great job in the pits. We didn’t miss much. We finished just 40 seconds behind the winners, which really isn’t much over an 8-hour race.”

Etienne MASSON – rider

“To be honest, I’m a bit frustrated because second place on the podium isn’t a bad place, but it’s not the first! We showed our performance during qualifying. In the race, the hot conditions didn’t allow us to get a good feeling on the bike, but we kept hanging on. And at the end of the race, we were faster and very consistent. We didn’t need much to win. We still put in a good performance, and I think we’ll show our strength at the next race in Suzuka.”

Dan LINFOOT – rider

“We had a good race and took another 27 points in the championship, so we’re still in the lead. That’s the good point. Of course, we came here to win but the gap between us and the winning team was quite small and so we should be proud of this podium position. Consistency was key and we’re going to keep on working to improve our performance. I feel good in the team and on the bike. Now we’re focusing on the next tests and the race at Suzuka.”

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