World Endurance: Yamaha Previews The 8 Hours Of Sepang

World Endurance: Yamaha Previews The 8 Hours Of Sepang

© 2019, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Yamaha:

Yamaha EWC Teams Ready for Sweltering Sepang Showdown

After their fiery exit from the Bol d’Or while fighting for the win back in September, this week the YART Yamaha EWC Official Team return to action in the sweltering heat and humidity of Malaysia, where they’ll be looking to get their championship campaign back on track with a strong showing in the inaugural 8 Hours of Sepang EWC race.

The YART Yamaha squad will field their traditional rider line up in Sepang, reuniting German rider Marvin Fritz, Italian Niccolò Canepa and Australian Broc Parkes, who was absent from the Bol d’Or due to commitments in the Asia Road Racing Championship, in which he finished second.

For Fritz this will be his first visit to the Sepang International Circuit, but it’s a track that his two YART Yamaha teammates know well, especially Parkes, who raced twice at the track during the 2019 season, finishing on the podium in the opening round of the ARRC back in March.

All three riders head into the second round of the 2019/2020 EWC season determined to re-establish themselves as championship contenders with a good result in Sepang, after missing out on points at the season opening Bol d’Or race.

It’s been a busy time for the YART Yamaha team since the Bol d’Or. Not only have they had to completely rebuild their number one race bike following it’s destruction in the fire that ended their challenge for the win in France, they’ve also had to build bikes for several of their competitors, including the Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, who will make their EWC debut at their home race in Malaysia this weekend.

The Yamaha Sepang Racing Team will field a strong rider line up in Malaysia, with MotoGP stars Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syahrin racing alongside Yamaha WorldSBK rider Michael van der Mark aboard the #21 Yamaha R1. While van der Mark and Syahrin have prior endurance racing experience, both have contested the Suzuka 8 Hours previously and the Dutch WorldSBK rider is a four-time winner of the prestigious race, Morbidelli will be making his FIM EWC debut this weekend. While the race format may be new to the Italian, the bike he’ll share with his two teammates will at least feel familiar, as Morbidelli regularly rides a Yamaha R1 on track as part of his training program for MotoGP races.

Also heading to Malaysia determined to fight for the podium is the Wojcik Yamaha EWC Supported Team, who currently lie second in the championship standings following their impressive second place in the opening round of the season. The team will field the same rider line up this weekend in Malaysia, with Gino Rea, Christoffer Bergman and Axel Maurin keen to repeat their podium success under the floodlights in Sepang.

The Moto Ain Yamaha World Cup Supported Team’s trio of riders, Roby Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Hugo Clere head to Malaysia looking to maintain their position at the top of the championship standings with another win to add to their victory in the Superstock class at the Bol d’Or.

The 8 Hours of Sepang is a new addition to the EWC calendar and is unique in that it will run alongside the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), with the two championships sharing track time throughout race week. The first ever 8 Hours of Sepang EWC race will take place on Saturday 14th December, with lights out at 13.00 local time, while the World Touring Cars will take to the track for three races on Sunday 15th December.

Niccolò Canepa

YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

“I’m really looking forward to the first ever 8 Hours of Sepang race this weekend. After a difficult start to the season with an unlucky end to our Bol d’Or race, we will need to push to score as many points as possible in Malaysia this weekend if we are to resurrect our championship challenge. It will be a tough race, but we have a good package in the Yamaha R1 and an extremely experienced rider line up, so I’m confident we can put together a strong race in Sepang.”

Marvin Fritz

YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

“I’ve been looking forward to Sepang for a while now, as it’s been some time since we last raced at the Bol d’Or and I can’t wait to get back on the YART Yamaha R1. For me it will be my first time at the Sepang International Circuit, but I’m normally quite good at learning tracks and I’m in a strong team where both of my teammates know the track very well and will be on hand to help me. It’s important that this weekend we score as many points as possible to make up for the disappointment of the Bol d’Or. Of course, we go into the weekend with the goal of winning the race and the combination of the YART Yamaha team, our R1 and our Bridgestone tyres means we’re in a good position to do that if all goes well.”

Broc Parkes

YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

“I’ve been racing at the Sepang International Circuit in the Asian Road Racing Championship this year, so I’ve had some time on the track, but it will be good to return with the YART Yamaha team this weekend. We need a good result in Malaysia after the bad luck suffered by the guys last time out at the Bol d’Or, but I’m confident we can bounce back and, if all goes well, maybe even fight for the race win.”

Franco Morbidelli

Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

“I’m really looking forward to getting the Sepang weekend started. I’ve never done an endurance race before, so this will be a completely new experience for me. I already met the team and I think it’s going to be good working with them, as they have a lot of endurance experience. I also sat on the bike for the first time and it looks awesome. Tomorrow we take to the track for the first time and I’m eager to see what my first EWC race weekend will bring.”

Michael van der Mark

Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

“It will be good to be back on the Yamaha R1 for another eight-hour endurance race, as Suzuka seems so long ago now. I’ll be part of a strong rider line up in the Sepang Yamaha Team, racing alongside MotoGP riders Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syahrin. Hafizh has some endurance experience, having also raced at Suzuka, while Franco knows the Yamaha R1 as he regular rides on as part of his training program. It’s going to be hot and it’s going to be tough, but that’s what I like about endurance racing. I’m sure all three of us will enjoy it and I’m equally certain we all head to Sepang with the goal of winning the race in front of the team’s home crowd.”

Hafizh Syahrin

Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

“I’m happy to be racing here at home, but I think the weather is going to make this first 8 hours of Sepang a tough test. It’s going to be hot and, even when you’re acclimatised to the heat, it still saps your energy on the bike. I’m looking forward to the first free practice tomorrow. It will be very different to MotoGP, as we have to share the Yamaha R1 between three riders, so I know already that the set-up will be a compromise rather than perfect for me, but that’s one of the things that we have to work around. Of course, we want to win, as do all the other teams, but we have a good package, a good rider line up and we’ll be pushing as hard as we can in the race. For me, it is great to be riding alongside Franco and Michael, as I’m sure we can learn a lot from each other. Thanks also to the Sepang International Circuit for making all this possible.”

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