EWC Meets WorldSBK: YART Yamaha to Enter Czech WorldSBK Round with Fritz and Hanika
The YART Yamaha EWC Official Team are gearing up for the this weekend’s FIM Superbike World Championship round at Autodrom Most, Czech Republic, where Marvin Fritz and local star Karel Hanika will make wild card appearances aboard lightly modified versions of the Yamaha R1 bikes they normally race in the FIM Endurance World Championship.
Founded in 2001, the YART Yamaha team have enjoyed huge success in the FIM EWC and were crowned champions in 2009. The team were runners up in the championship last year, winning races in Sepang and Estoril and the YART Yamaha R1 has started five of the last six EWC races from pole position, with riders Fritz and Hanika always amongst the fastest in qualifying.
For their wildcard entries in Most the YART Yamaha bikes have been modified to meet the WorldSBK technical regulations whilst retaining many of the specialist components rarely seen in the WorldSBK paddock, but essential when racing for 24 hours at Le Mans and the Bol d’Or.
For Fritz, this weekend will mark his WorldSBK debut, having spent the last five seasons contesting FIM EWC with the YART Yamaha squad. The German was champion of the IDM Superbike Championship in 2016, while he also won the 2014 IDM Supersport 600 class, both on Yamaha machinery, and he raced at the Czech circuit whilst contesting the 2007 IDM 125cc Championship.
Teammate Hanika, who was born in Brno, has held the lap record at Most since 2019 and will be making his second WorldSBK appearance, having finished in the points at Laguna Seca in 2018. The 25-year-old spent several years in Moto3 after winning the Red Bull Rookies Cup and European Moto3 Championship in 2013. He joined YART Yamaha in EWC last year and was a part of the team’s victories at the 8 Hours of Sepang and 12 Hours of Estoril.
Friday will kick off the weekend’s action with two 45-minute free practice sessions, followed by FP3 on Saturday morning. After the Superpole at 11:10 (GMT+2), Race 1 will get underway at 14:00, while the Superpole Race and Race 2 will start at 11:00 and 15:15 on Sunday.
“I’m really looking forward to Most. It’s like a dream come true for me and my first time racing in the World Superbikes – I’ve raced Superstock before but never WorldSBK. I’m excited for the first free practice; I know the level of some of the riders from Suzuka, but it will be interesting to see the difference between the performance of the bikes. I’ve ridden at Most, and I’ve also raced there in the IDM 125cc Championship back in 2007, but I’ve not done that many laps so we will see. The track is really nice, when you come out of the hairpin at the back there’s a good flowing section which is fun. The first chicane is going to be one to watch, you have to brake hard to stop the bike and the asphalt there isn’t so great, which is a bit of a pity because the rest of the lap is a lot of fun. I’d like to say a big thanks to YART Yamaha and everybody for making this happen. I can’t wait to get going.”
“I’m very happy to get this opportunity to be joining the WorldSBK grid as a wildcard with the YART Yamaha team. Thanks to everyone who’s been behind this, especially Mandy and Yamaha. Most is a track where I’ve had the lap record for around two years, it’s a difficult circuit for sure but it has a nice flow. You must be really hard on the brakes for the first corner, which I think is going to be important for all of the races. The tarmac is overall good, but in the first sector it’s not too great. I believe it will suit our bike well, so I’m looking forward to the weekend and to racing at home in front of the Czech fans.”
Mandy Kainz – CEO & Team Manager
“We are looking forward to this new adventure in the FIM Superbike World Championship at Most and we are curious to see how our project ‘Endurance meets WorldSBK’ will go. World championship points would be like a victory for us, as we are clearly inferior on paper. Our target is to see where the two fastest endurance riders on the fastest EWC bike will be placed amongst the WorldSBK runners. Out of our last six EWC races we took five pole positions, with Fritz and Hanika taking the fastest lap times in every single session. That’s why we chose the bikes they know, even if we will lose out in a few small areas compared to the pure WorldSBK machines. We are not expecting any miracles, but we are also not shy to compare ourselves to those around us. We will also have to work with Pirelli, to set up our bike to suit tyres that are new to us. It will be hard work, but we are all very excited.”