8 Hours of Sepang
FIM Endurance World Championship
Sepang International Circuit
December 14, 2019
Overall Race Results (wet conditions):
- YART – Yamaha (Broc Parkes/Marvin Fritz/Niccolo Canepa), Yam YZF-R1, SBK, 80 laps, Total Race Time 5:50:03.837, Fastest Race Lap 2:18.616
- Honda Asia-Dream Racing With Showa (Zaqhwan Zaidi/Andifarid Izdihar/Somkiat Chantra), Hon CBR1000RR, SBK, 80 laps, -109.622 seconds, 2:20.692
- BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team (Ilya Mykhalchyk/Markus Reiterberger/Kenny Foray), BMW S1000RR, SBK, 79 laps, 2:22.090
- MOTO AIN (Roberto Rolfo/Robin Mulhauser/Hugo Clere), Yam YZF-R1, STK, 79 laps, -11.279 seconds, 2:20.927
- Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe/Etienne Masson/Gregg Black), Suz GSX-R1000, SBK, 79 laps, -79.947 seconds, 2:23.585
- Webike SRC Kawasaki France (Jeremy Guarnoni/Erwan Nigon/David Checa), Kaw ZX-10RR, SBK, 78 laps, 2:23.081
- Yamaha Sepang Racing (Franco Morbidelli/Hafizh Syahrin/Michael van der Mark), Yam YZF-R1, SBK, 78 laps, -27.618 seconds, 2:17.817
- BMW Sepang Racing (Aslan Shah/Adam Norrodin/Julien Da Costa), BMW S1000RR, SBK, 78 laps, -40.070 seconds, 2:23.039
- 3ART – MOTO Team 95 (Mathieu Lussiana/Morgan Berchet/Alex Plancassagne), Yam YZF-R1, SBK, 78 laps, -51.923 seconds, 2:23.133
- Team ERC Endurance (Ondrej Jezek/Randy De Puniet/Louis Rossi), Duc Panigale V4 R, SBK, 78 laps, -52.416 seconds, 2:24.227
More, from a press release issued by Eurosport Events/FIM EWC:
YART YAMAHA CLAIM VICTORY AT 8 HOURS OF SEPANG MAIDEN EDITION
YART Yamaha took the win ahead of Honda Asia Dream Racing with Showa and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in Malaysia at the very first edition of the 8 Hours of Sepang, which proved to be a nerve-racking race due to very bad weather.
After a delayed start followed by track action being suspended due to heavy rain, the first edition of the 8 Hours of Sepang made good on its promise of being an action-packed new FIM Endurance World Championship race. Duels at the front, lead swaps, drama and crashes kept the tension high all through the race on the Malaysian circuit.
YART Yamaha won the day despite an electronics scare in the early stages of the race by steering clear of trouble with Niccolò Canepa as the only Yamaha #7 rider in the saddle throughout the race. The strategy of having a sole fast rider with experience of tricky track conditions in the saddle bore fruit. Broc Parkes and Karel Hanika were however co-credited with the win. “We won it together,” said Niccolò Canepa at the post-race press conference.
YART Yamaha finished ahead of Honda Asia Dream Racing with Showa, who ran a consistent race in the leading pack with Malaysian rider Zaqhwan Zaidi, Thai rider Somkiat Chantra and Indonesian Andi Farid Izdihar. The Japanese team’s cosmopolitan line-up had already done brilliantly in the Top 10 Trial, wresting 2nd place on the starting grid.
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team claimed their second podium at the 8 Hours of Sepang with riders Ilya Mykhalchyk and Markus Reiterberger after their Bol d’Or podium finish. Kenny Foray sustained an injury in practice and was unable to compete in the race. The Belgian factory-backed team moves up to 2nd place in the FIM EWC provisional standings with a 15-point gap to Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who maintain the lead obtained after their Bol d’Or win.
Superstock winner just short of the podium
Moto Ain steamed steadily ahead throughout the action-packed race to a fourth-place overall finish and another win in the Superstock class. The French Yamaha-mounted team consolidated their lead in the Endurance World Cup with riders Roberto Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Hugo Clère, finishing ahead of both Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and Webike SRC Kawasaki France, who struggled in the challenging track conditions.
Moto Ain’s runner-up in the Superstock class was German team GERT56 by GS Yuasa (BMW). Lucy Glöckner, Stefan Kerschbaumer and Pepijn Bijsterbosch finished 14th overall after holding off Japanese team Tone RT Syncedge 4413 BMW until the end. After being delayed by a crash in the early stages, Tomoya Hoshino, Kokoro Atsumi and Takeshi Ishizuka climbed back up to finish their first race outside Japan on the third step of the podium.
Favourites have nerve-racking race
Yamaha Sepang Racing, who dominated qualifying and the early stages of the race, and their chief rival F.C.C. TSR Honda France broke away from the other front-runners to embark on a duel for the lead. A collision involving Mike di Meglio (F.C.C. TSR Honda France) and Michael van der Mark (Yamaha Sepang Racing) knocked both machines to the ground. After a pit stop, Michael van der Mark returned to the track beyond 40th place. By dint of piling up fastest race laps (including a 2:17.817 by Franco Morbidelli), Yamaha Sepang Racing finished 7th ahead of BMW Sepang Racing, 3ART Moto Team 95 (Yamaha) and Team ERC Endurance, who got their Ducati Panigale into the Top 10.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France returned to the lead after the collision, but lost their chance of a win after Mike di Meglio crashed out with one hour left in the race.
Other teams also had a very tough time of it. Suzuki JEG Kagayama were well placed among the top three but lost a lot of ground due to a mechanical issue. A mechanical problem also led to the downfall of Tecmas BMW GMC, who had performed spectacularly in the early part of the race with rider Camille Hédelin clearly at ease on a wet track.
The Sepang International Circuit will host the FIA WTCR/Oscaro season finale races tomorrow (Sunday).
Next FIM EWC race: the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans on 18 and 19 April 2020.
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:
Canepa the Hero of the Hour as YART Yamaha Take Emphatic Win in Sepang
The YART Yamaha EWC Official Team reignited their championship challenge with an impressive victory in a rain disrupted 8 Hours of Sepang race, the second round of the 2019/2020 Endurance World Championship. The Yamaha Sepang Racing Team were leading the restarted race in the early stages, until Mike Di Meglio collided with the rear of Michael van der Mark’s Yamaha R1 in the final corner, causing both to crash. After losing almost 10 minutes in the pits for repairs, the team fought their way back impressively to eventually finish in the points in seventh position.
In scenes reminiscent of the opening round of the season at the Bol d’Or, the start of the inaugural 8 Hours of Sepang was delayed for more than two hours due to torrential rain and standing water around the Sepang International Circuit. When the race did finally get underway the riders started behind the safety car, where they remained for just nine laps before deteriorating weather conditions forced race officials to show the red flag and suspend the race.
The weather finally improved enough to get the race restarted with three hours remaining on the clock and it was van der Mark and Di Meglio who made the early running at the front, until a mistake by the Frenchman in the final corner saw him collide with the Yamaha rider, causing both to crash. While di Meglio was able to continue, van der Mark was thrown over the highside and was forced to return to the pit box for repairs, losing almost 10 minutes in the process.
In the meantime, Niccolò Canepa was busy fighting his way back through the field, after an electrical problem dropped the YART Yamaha rider back to 26th position on the opening lap. In difficult conditions, with grip still at a premium on the wet track and with no electronic rider aids for most of his first stint due to a technical issue, the Italian’s progress towards the front of the race was relentless.
Canepa took the race lead after the first round of pit stops, but was overhauled by di Meglio shortly afterwards, only for the Frenchman to crash for a second time, leaving the YART Yamaha rider clear at the front of the race, with a significant advantage over his pursuers.
At the second and final pit stop, with just 30 minutes of the foreshortened race remaining, the YART Yamaha team opted to leave Canepa on the bike for a third stint, rather than send out one of his teammates in what were rapidly changing conditions. It proved to be a wise decision, with Canepa witnessing a number of crashes in his final laps, as his fresher rivals were caught out by the unpredictable track surface.
After three hours of racing, in what were treacherous conditions, and without making a single mistake, Canepa crossed the line to secure his and YART Yamaha’s first win of the season. The victory places YART Yamaha fourth in the championship standings with 43 points, 36 points behind the series leaders.
The final third of the race also proved pivotal for Yamaha Sepang Racing. Having lost a lot of time as a result of the crash in the opening stages, van der Mark’s speed and consistency saw him recover a significant number of places during his two stints on the #21 Yamaha R1, which he handed over to Franco Morbidelli at the final pit stop. The MotoGP rider joined the race outside the top 15 but went on to thrill the crowd with a spectacular display of riding, as he scythed his way through the field to eventually claim an incredible seventh-place finish at the chequered flag.
The Moto Ain Yamaha World Cup Supported Team made it a double celebration for Yamaha in Malaysia, as Roby Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Hugo Clere maintained their 100 percent record in the 2019/2020 championship with another SST class win, to add to their previous victory at the Bol d’Or. They finished fourth overall in today’s 8 Hours of Sepang race, missing out on the final podium place by only the narrowest of margins.
YART Yamaha EWC Official Team
“I’m incredibly happy with win here in Sepang, as it started as a difficult week, especially with the injury to Marvin. Luckily Karel was able to step in as a replacement at the last minute. I was feeling good at the start of the race but, after only a couple of laps, the bike switched off and when it came back on it was with no traction control or any electronics. That made things very difficult, but I managed to come back from P20 to P1 at the end of my first stint, which I was supper happy about. When the safety car came out, I switched the bike off and on and everything started to work as it should once again. At both pit stops Mandy asked me if I wanted to continue and both times I said yes, although I did take a bit of persuading at the first stop. I pushed hard throughout the race and, at the end, we took the win. Yes, we were a bit fortunate with the crash, but that’s part of the game in endurance racing, as we’ve found out to our cost in other races. So, I’m super, super happy and I’d like to say a big thank you to my team and especially my teammates, as we race and win together. The win means we’re back in the championship and now we need to focus on repeating this success at the next race, the 24 hours of Le Mans.”
Mandy KainzTeam Manager, YART Yamaha EWC Official Team
“Obviously we are happy with our first win of the season, especially after what had initially been a difficult week for us here in Malaysia and one overshadowed by Marvin’s injury. The team and the riders didn’t let these difficulties defeat them, but instead worked hard to ensure we were well prepared for what turned out to be a very difficult race. It was shorter than expected because of the weather, but no less exhausting for that. We had a problem with the bike in the early stages of the race, but Niccolò did an incredible job to fight his way through to the front in difficult conditions and without any electronic rider aids. At the first pit stop it was tight at the front of the race, so we decided to keep Niccolò on the bike, rather than lose time while Karel got used to the conditions. We made the same decision at the final pit stop, opting to stick with Niccolò rather than putting Broc on the bike for the final 30 minutes on a damp but drying track. It was the correct decision and it paid dividends for us in the end. So, thanks to the team and the riders for a fantastic job; this win puts us back in the game as far as the championship is concerned. Finally, I wish Marvin a speedy recovery and I look forward to seeing him back on the bike, and hopefully on the podium, in Le Mans.”
Michael van der Mark
Yamaha Sepang Racing Team
“It was a weird 8 Hours of Sepang, but when we did finally get to race the conditions were good. I had a good feeling with the bike and a strong pace from the start, so when I got passed for the lead I decided to sit in behind and follow rather than take any risks. My plan was to retake the lead when we hit traffic. I’m not sure what Di Meglio’s plan was with the pass at the final corner, but it didn’t work, and it ended for me with a massive highside that let me badly winded. The team did an amazing job to get the bike back on track and I was quick to rediscover my rhythm so, apart from the position, I enjoyed the race. When Franco took over the bike for the last stint, we could see he had really good pace, but we were still surprised to finish as high as seventh. Massive thanks to the team, who worked so hard for us this weekend, and also to Franco and Hafizh, who I really enjoyed racing with.”
More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:
FIM EWC: BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team finishes on the podium in Sepang.
“Sepang 8 Hours” reduced to three hours due to heavy rain.
Ilya Mikhalchik and Markus Reiterberger finish in third place with the #37 BMW S 1000 RR.
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in second place in World Championship after two races.
Sepang. Second race, second podium for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC): Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Markus Reiterberger (GER) secured third place at the “Sepang 8 Hours” (MAS) with the #37 BMW S 1000 RR. Heavy rain forced Saturday’s race at the “Sepang International Circuit” to be reduced from eight to three hours. The newly established BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team is in second place in the overall standings of the World Championship after two races of the season.
Team manager Werner Daemen’s (BEL) team qualified in fifth for the second round of the 2019/20 season of the FIM EWC. Mikhalchik and Reiterberger took it in turns on the saddle of the #37 RR. Their team-mate Kenny Foray (FRA) injured himself when he fell during a practice session on Wednesday, and was unable to take part in the remainder of the race weekend.
The race in Sepang turned into a test of patience for everyone involved. The race was scheduled to start at 13:00 local time, but hours of heavy rain made it impossible to stick to the published schedule. The race started later than planned and behind the safety car, but was red-flagged after just a few laps. The conditions only improved at around 18:00 local time, enabling the race to be completed with a reduced duration of around three hours.
Mikhalchik and Reiterberger initially rode in fifth place, but a flawless performance saw them move up into third place during the course of the race. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team maintained this podium position down to the finish line.
Privateer team BMW Sepang Racing finished in eighth place. Azlan Shah Kamarazuman (MAS), Adam Norrodin (MAS) and Julien Da Costa (FRA) took it in turns on the saddle of the #48 BMW S 1000 RR. Two BMW teams secured spots on the podium in the Superstock class. Second place went to GERT56 by GS YUASA with Stefan Kerschbaumer (AUT), Lucy Glöckner (GER) and Pepijn Bijsterbosch (NED). The #56 RR finished in 14th place in the overall rankings. Hoshino Tomoya, Kokoro Atsumi and Takeshi Ishizuka (all JPN) finished third in the Superstock class on the #80 RR of TONE RT SYNCEDGE 4413 BMW (15th overall).
The third round of the FIM EWC 2019/20 is scheduled for 18th/19th April 2020: the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA).
Quotes after the “Sepang 8 Hours”
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “The second podium in our second race in the FIM EWC – this is a fantastic result for our new BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. We couldn’t have necessarily expected this as newcomers in this highly competitive World Championship. The team and our riders Ilya and Markus weren’t distracted by the adverse conditions. They did yet another fantastic, flawless job on the track and in the pit. On this occasion, I also want to send a get well soon message to Kenny, who surely will be back with us soon. Of course, we would have liked to get more riding in to gain more experience in race conditions with our RR, but it wasn’t possible in this weather. Now we will keep focussing on preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Congratulations go to our BMW customer teams as well, who also got strong results with their RR.”
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “I’m a very proud team manager today. It’s a shame that Kenny wasn’t able to take part, but Ilya and Markus did a really great job as a duo. The conditions on the wet track were very treacherous, and the day wasn’t easy overall. But the whole team did a really great job. And the pit stops were world class. Now we’re hoping for a similarly strong result in the next race in Le Mans.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “First of all I want to say get well soon to our third rider Kenny, who unfortunately got injured in practice, and I hope that we will be back together soon, because it’s a team sport and it’s important to have the entire team together. Overall I’m, of course, really happy with the race. We have been strong in all conditions. At the beginning of the race, there was a lot of water on the track and I think that everyone was a bit scared of that. But everyone adapted and, while it was difficult in the early stages, it became better with every lap. Also the grip was there then. We did not quite have the pace of the winners, but we were very constant on every lap and this was important. I could have pushed more, but it was risky and it was our strategy to ride more consistently. This paid off, this was our target and we did our job. We are very happy to be on the podium and thanks a lot to my team. We did this together.”
Markus Reiterberger: “I am really happy to be back in endurance racing. It was a pity that Kenny was injured and I wish him a speedy recovery. We had to do today’s race with two riders. In the end it was only three hours. We decided that Ilya would ride at the start and he did a really good job. I’m really happy with how qualifying and the race went. I still had to adapt to the Dunlop tyres that were new for me, but the team did a really good job and I felt very comfortable on the bike. My race pace was not quite as fast as I had hoped for, but in the end it was more important not to crash and to bring home the result. Ilya did a great last stint, we secured third place and I think this is a really good team achievement.”
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:
SUZUKI INCREASES EWC SERIES LEAD AT SEPANG 8 HOURS
SERT: GSX-R1000 – 5th – 1st in Championship.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team increased its lead in the 2019-2020 EWC Championship at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia despite treacherous weather conditions that forced the inaugural ‘8 Hours of Sepang’ to be delayed and suspended on safety grounds.
SERT riders Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black, however, fought back throughout a shortened race aboard the GSX-R1000 to finish fifth overall and increase their series lead from 12 to 15 points after this second race of the series.
The 50 qualified teams eventually went back on track at 18:00 local time following the safety car for a number of laps for the three remaining hours of the race, but the conditions were still extremely tricky and many teams had issues and crashes during the shortened race.
Black started the race cautiously on a soaking-wet track, but during SERT’s two first stints, the weather improved, allowing Black to find an excellent pace. When Masson took over from Black, the #2 Suzuki had already climbed from 11th to fifth position. The track remained difficult until the end of the race, but the 15-time Endurance World Champions and its technical team did not make any mistakes.
SERT completed a total of 79 laps and took three pit-stops during the event and lead into the next round, the Le Mans 24-Hour, the team’s home race in France on April 18th.
The Sepang race was also a special moment for SERT, which is now managed by Damien Saulnier, as their longest-serving rider Vincent Philippe retired from the team after helping secure 10 of SERT’s world titles.
Damien Saulnier-Team Manager:
“When you are not on the top step of the podium you always wish you had a better place, but for this race with tricky conditions, our goal was a Top-5 and the job has been done. I am satisfied with the work we’ve done during the week while being aware that there is still some more work to do. The team keeps on growing up and everyone works hard. We are also very pleased with Yoshimura’s engineers support.
“I would also like to thank the organiser for this amazing event. Bringing 38 European teams to Malaysia was not an easy task! And last but not least, I would like to say a word for Vincent Philippe, who didn’t race today because of the circumstances. He is a very professional man and I had great confidence in him. I am filled with emotion, but also proud to have been able to work with this remarkable rider.”