World Endurance: YART Yamaha Wins Race, SERT Takes Championship

World Endurance: YART Yamaha Wins Race, SERT Takes Championship

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

12 Hours of Estoril - Final results after 12 hours - Final ranking



More, from a press release issued by Eurosport Events:



YART Yamaha won the 12 Hours of Estoril, the thrilling season finale of the FIM Endurance World Championship, ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda France and Wójcik Racing Team. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team finished at the foot of the podium in Portugal and claimed the 2019-2020 FIM EWC crown.

YART Yamaha and F.C.C. TSR Honda France battled it out until the last minute of an action-packed race. After a 12-hour thriller, YART Yamaha won the day thanks to riders Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa, with a less-than-25-second lead over F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike di Meglio. Their win is equally a victory for Bridgestone, supplier to these two highly competitive teams.

The duel between the two squads raged for the entire second half of the race. While it was smooth sailing for the Japanese Honda team, the Austrian Yamaha team had some issues, from Marvin Fritz’s fluffed start from pole position to two broken footpegs. YART Yamaha were head and shoulders above the others today, with Marvin Fritz posting a 1:39.353 fastest lap at the end of the race to boot.

Wójcik Racing Team finished third after Gino Rea, Broc Parkes and Sheridan Morais ran a spectacular race. The Polish independent team crafted their race strategy with a podium in their sights. They pulled it off at Estoril, wrapping up the season in fourth place in the overall standings, sandwiched between the factory teams.

16th world title for Suzuki Endurance Racing Team
Competitive but careful to seal their chance at the world title, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team did battle in the leading trio until twice getting gear selector shaft warning signs. Etienne Masson, Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon were fourth over the finish line at Estoril, thereby clinching Suzuki Endurance Racing Team a 16th FIM EWC title – their first since 2016 and the first-ever for Damien Saulnier, the new team manager of the Suzuki factory team.

Another challenge was pulled off by VRD Igol Pierret Experiences, who were 5th at the finish after a 12-hour battle with the factory teams. In the saddle of the Yamaha 333, Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Nico Terol finished ahead of Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. The Kawasaki team lost out on a podium due to a broken chain. After leading at the start of the race, the factory BMW team powered back up through the field to 7th place overall following a crash.

The top Superstock team, Moto Ain, finished 8th ahead of LRP Poland and 3ART Best of Bike.

Second FIM Superstock World Cup for Moto Ain
Moto Ain ruled the roost in the Superstock class. The French Yamaha team claimed the victory in class ahead of Team Aviobike, Wójcik Racing Team 2, JMA Motos Action Bike and No Limits Motor Team, who fell back after a crash.

Their position as Superstock leader 8 hours into the race at Estoril secured Moto Ain the FIM Endurance World Cup win at that stage. But Roberto Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Hugo Clère did not let up their pace as a result. Moto Ain won the FIM World Cup for the second successive season ahead of No Limits Motor Team and GERT56 by GS Yuasa.

Two of the high profile-teams were forced to retire due to crashes: ERC Endurance (Ducati) dropped out in the very first hour while Bolliger Team Switzerland (Kawasaki) retired in the fourth hour. Hanspeter Bolliger was awarded the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy to honour his 38-year passion for endurance racing and the final race of his career at Estoril.

National Motos dropped out of the rankings a little over 6 hours into the race following an engine issue. The privateer Honda fielded by the eponymous Paris dealership had been running a fine race in the Top 15 with only two riders, Stéphane Egea and Guillaume Antiga.




More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Yamalube YART Yamaha Storm to Estoril 12-Hour Victory

The Yamalube YART Yamaha Team have taken victory in the first-ever Estoril 12-Hour after a sublime performance from Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccoló Canepa. The Wojcik Racing Team and Moto AIN team made it a triple celebration for Yamaha on the Estoril podium, with Wojcik finishing third overall and Moto AIN taking the FIM Superstock World Cup race win and 2019/2020 title.

The YART Yamaha squad got their championship-deciding race underway in the hands of Marvin Fritz. The German had a tough start, suffering from a small technical issue, dropping to the back of the field as the pack battled their way into turn one.

The former IDM Superbike champion kept a calm head, quickly making his way through the field, he found himself lying in seventh at the end of the first five minutes. Fritz continued to work his way towards the front, setting an early fastest lap as the track temperature began to rise.

As he found his rhythm, Fritz was just out of podium reach after making his way up to fourth. He wasted no time getting past the F.C.C TSR Honda, swooping around the outside at the final corner, finishing the move into turn one, he began to chase after the race leader.

After an impressive first stint, Fritz handed the YART R1 over to Karel Hanika, who instantly began to pile the pressure on the BMW team. However, his opening stint was made a little easier, taking the lead of the race after the BMW Motorrad team crashed out of contention.

Controlling the pace, YART continued to dominate proceedings. Hanika was deep into his second stint when he suffered a small technical issue with his right footrest. Unalarmed, he kept a calm head, alerting the team before pulling in to make the quick repair. With just over four hours on the clock, Niccoló Canepa took over from the Czech rider.

As the race approached its half-way mark, YART held a lead of just one second over the F.C.C TSR Honda, with a battle that was set to go down to the wire.

As the track temperature continued to rise to 43 degrees, Hanika had a steady start to his next stint, building temperature into his Bridgestone tyres. With just under six hours remaining, there was no room for error in the second-longest race of the season. The Czech rider was quick to settle into his next stint, shadowing the F.C.C TSR Honda team and eventually took the lead back at turn six after losing it briefly on his out lap.

With two-thirds race distance approaching, the pressure was back on YART after their lead was closed down once again. With Fritz back on board, the German held on to the lead at the eight-hour mark, collecting ten further championship points, adding to the five they took for pole position.

There were more celebrations at the eight-hour mark as the Moto AIN DAFY squad confirmed their FIM Endurance World Cup title thanks to the efforts of Roby Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Hugo Clere.

Back at the front, Hanika ran into further issues, experiencing another problem with his right footrest. Both YART and Hanika were quick to fix the problem and continued to lap comfortably in the low 1:40’s as the sun began to set on the Estoril track.

With two hours remaining, YART Yamaha found themselves in a battle for the lead once again, with two different strategies for the leading two teams. However, YART used their experience to time their final pit stop to perfection, with Fritz pitting for a splash and dash nine minutes before the end of the race, securing the victory by 24.5 seconds.

Unfortunately for the team, despite a clean sweep, it wasn’t enough to take the world championship, finishing the ultra-competitive 2019/2020 EWC season in second overall, 18 points adrift of eventual winners, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.

The Wojcik Yamaha Team had a strong race, running inside the top five throughout the 12-hours to take an overall third place, joining YART on the podium. Meanwhile, Moto AIN rode to an impressive eighth place, taking the World Cup race win and the 2019/2020 crown.

Another strong result saw Yamaha crowned manufacturers champions, picking up 237 points across the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship season.

Karel Hanika: Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Team 

“I started the year with the YART team as their fourth rider, but I proved myself and joined the squad with Niccoló and Marvin. I’ve now done three races with this team, and we’ve won twice and then in Le Mans we were the strongest, but after my mistake, we lost the podium. I’m so happy to end the season with a win despite having two issues with the footrest.

“Throughout the week the team did an amazing job, especially Marvin who was really strong, so overall it was a good race.”

Marvin Fritz: Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Team 

“We worked really hard from the first session; it was a new track for me, so I had to learn it. The track wasn’t hard to learn, it was just physical on the body. About the race, we never expected the tyres to work as well as they did, so massive thanks to Bridgestone.

“The team was fantastic, even with the small issues we had during the race, no one made a mistake and everyone was really consistent throughout the stints, consistently faster than the other teams.

“During my final stint, I was pushing like hell to open the gap over TSR, and in the end, we got the win. I’m really happy because it’s always nice to end the year with a win as we have a long winter ahead. I want to thank the team, my sponsors, Yamaha and Bridgestone for all their hard work this season and I can’t wait for next year.”

Niccoló Canepa: Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Team

“It wasn’t an easy race, but a race we needed to win. It’s the final race of the season, so it was important that we go into the winter break with a performance like this in Estoril.”

Mandy Kainz: Team Manager, Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Team 

“On paper, it looked clear; I don’t think we’ve ever dominated like this before. From free practice to night practice, qualifying and warm-up, we were dominating the field, but it wasn’t an easy race.

“It was a mixed race, with some bad luck and some luck on our side, it shows once again how unpredictable Endurance is. But in the end, we did what we wanted to do, we took maximum points, and came close to winning the championship. We once again showed the potential of the team, the new R1 and the Bridgestone tyres.

“The team did an amazing job; we were on top in every session; everything was perfect. It was a hard battle with Honda, but in the end, we came out on top!”




More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

Early lead, but no luck for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in the ‘12 Hours of Estoril’.

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team concludes its debut season in the FIM Endurance World Championship at the final round in Portugal.

From third on the grid, the #37 BMW S 1000 RR takes an early lead.

Markus Reiterberger, Kenny Foray and Peter Hickman finish seventh after a crash and repairs.

Estoril. One year ago, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team started its debut season in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC) at the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet (FRA). This weekend, the team’s first season drew to a close with the ‘12 Hours of Estoril’ in Portugal. The #37 BMW S 1000 RR, with riders Markus Reiterberger (GER), Kenny Foray (FRA) and Peter Hickman (GBR) in the saddle, was once again one of the fastest bikes in the world championship at the fourth and final round of the season. However, luck was not on the team’s side in the race, and the #37 had to settle for seventh place after twelve hours of racing.

The BMW S 1000 RR demonstrated its speed already in qualifying. Reiterberger set the fastest time across all the qualifying sessions with a new lap record. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team lined up in third place on the grid for the 12-hour race, with grid positions determined by the average time of each of the three riders’ fastest laps. The race started at 08:00 local time on Saturday morning. Sunny weather meant track conditions were dry and good.

Start rider Reiterberger had climbed into second place soon, and it was not long before the #37 BMW S 1000 RR was leading the race. He then set about pulling clear of the chasing pack. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team spent over an hour at the head of the field, before things took a turn for the worse. Hickman skidded and crashed in a left-hander. He was able to continue, but the relatively minor crash caused such severe damage to the bike that it required a long stop for repairs. That saw the #37 bike drop back to 19th place, eight laps behind the leaders. As the race progressed, the trio of Reiterberger, Foray and Hickman set about gradually working their way back through the field. After 12 hours, the #37 crossed the finish line in seventh place. The second BMW S 1000 RR, Team LRP Poland’s #90 bike, finished ninth.

The 2019/20 season, which started one year ago at Le Castellet, was reduced to four races as a result of the coronavirus. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team claimed its first podium against the top-class world championship field with third place at the opening round. The next podium came in the second race in mid-December at Sepang (MAS), courtesy of another third place. After a break, the season resumed at Le Mans (FRA) at the end of August. Shortly before the finish, the team crashed out whilst running fifth. Seventh place at the finale in Estoril means the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team ends its debut season in sixth place overall.

Quotes after the ’12 Hours of Estoril’.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “It is obviously disappointing at first, when you suffer such a set-back whilst leading the race. We had our sights set on a top finish and saw that we had the potential to achieve that. However, these things happen in racing. Neither the team nor the riders buried their heads in the sand after that incident. Instead, they battled and gave it their all right through to the finish. Although we did not get the result we were after at the finale, you have to look at the big picture. It was our first season in FIM EWC, with its very strong field, and we had little preparation time before our first outing at the Bol d’Or one year ago. We have twice finished on the podium in this season’s four races, and were extremely competitive at the other two events. In addition, we were able to prove the reliability of our RR at the Le Mans 24-hour race as well as at the 12-hour race at Estoril, even if we lost strong positions there due to riding mistakes. That is overall not a bad record for us as ‘rookies’. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and the BMW S 1000 RR have established themselves among the best in the world at the first attempt. I would like to say a big thank you to Werner Daemen, Steven Casaer and the entire team for the hard and highly-professional work they have put in this season. We achieved a very high standard in our first year, which gives us an outstanding basis for our second season in FIM EWC. Congratulations to our tyre partner Dunlop who won the title with SERT. We will start a new attempt to fight for the title in the coming season.”

Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “In the end it was seventh place and we are not really happy because I think that we could have won the race without the problems we had. ‘Hicky’s crash was of course a big problem and we lost many laps as we had to repair the bike including a change of the swing arm. When you see the gap we had at the chequered flag I think that the win would have been possible. Markus did a tremendous job, as did all riders and the entire team over the whole week. Only the crash was a pity. After Le Mans, it was the second time we lost many points due to a crash. But it was our first year in the FIM EWC and we have seen that without crashes we can fight for the world championship – this is really not bad for the first year. So overall I am a happy person but a little bit disappointed from the result today.”

Markus Reiterberger: “I had the honour to do the start and it went very well – I was a fast runner and then I came off pretty fast. Other than the two guys in front of me, I had decent grip pretty early and I passed them. I then built a gap over my stint which was very good and important. ‘Hicky’ initially stepped up on this but then unfortunately crashed. I feel sorry for him as he just made a small riding mistake. It was a pity for the entire team but you can hardly reproach him for that. It was a normal racing crash that can happen to everyone. The team did a superb job and repaired the bike extremely quick. After that, we rode super stints, at top-three level, even though we still had the one or two issues related to the crash. We worked our way up to finish seventh. Of course we had hoped for a podium or the win and that definitely would have been possible. But this is Endurance. It was a great event on a fantastic track and I only can say ‘thank you’ to the team and to my team-mates. All gave their very best and the day will come for us to be rewarded again for our work.”

Kenny Foray: “The race is over and the championship season is over and for sure it is not the result that we had expected. But this is racing and I think that we can learn a lot from the last two races. For me personally, the final race at Estoril was not easy because after the crash the bike was not easy to ride so we needed to adapt our riding style. But that is endurance; you need to be able to adapt to everything. And we were able to push and to work our way back to seventh place. This result is not so bad but I think that we were able to make a podium today. But it’s like it is. We learn and come back next season.”

Peter Hickman: “I really want to say sorry to the team because we had the pace to actually win this race and my mistake was what caused all the problems which is a big shame. But it was good to show that we had the pace and the team worked really, really well in getting the bike back on track. I think that overall, we have shown the potential of the bike and the riders but it is just disappointing not to have won the race. Sorry again to the entire team.”

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