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[roadracingworld.com] - World Endurance: More From The 8 Hours Of Spa

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 […]

The post World Endurance: More From The 8 Hours Of Spa appeared first on Roadracing World Magazine | Motorcycle Riding, Racing & Tech News.



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.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.”

The post World Endurance: More From The 8 Hours Of Spa appeared first on Roadracing World Magazine | Motorcycle Riding, Racing & Tech News.
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