YART Yamaha EWC Chasing Victory in Bol d'Or Season Opener
The YART Yamaha EWC Team is set to return to action this week as they chase the win at the Bol d'Or, the opening round of the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship. The team will field a slightly revised rider line-up for the race, with Yamaha WorldSBK rider Loris Baz standing in for Broc Parkes, who is racing in the penultimate round of the Asia Road Racing Championship the same weekend.
The YART Yamaha trio of Baz, Niccolò Canepa and Marvin Fritz head into the Bol d'Or weekend with confidence high, having topped the timesheet at Circuit Paul Ricard during pre-season testing earlier this month. It was former Endurance World Champion Canepa who secured the top spot with the fastest time of the test, just a tenth of a second outside the outright lap record, while his two teammates were just a few tenths adrift of the Italian's time, marking out a strong YART Yamaha squad as one of the favourites for victory this weekend.
While Baz and Canepa are both previous winners at the Bol d'Or - the Frenchman was victorious in 2013 and the Italian was part of the winning Yamaha squad in 2017 - it is the one European EWC race that YART Yamaha have yet to win. They came close last season, finishing second and missing out on the top step of the podium by just 54 seconds after 24 hours of racing, but they head back this year determined to complete the full set with victory in the 83rd edition of the Bol d'Or this weekend.
The action at Circuit Paul Ricard kicks off on Thursday 19th September with Free Practice and the first qualifying sessions. Final qualifying takes place the following day, with the race getting underway with the traditional Le Mans style start at 15.00 CEST on Saturday 21st September.
YART Yamaha EWC
"I'm really looking forward to starting the new season this weekend. Last year we showed our potential, but we were also a little unlucky, but now we start again on a track that suits our Yamaha YZF-R1 perfectly and at which we were both fast and consistent during the recent pre-season test. Racing over 24 hours is always difficult and a lot can happen, but we are ready to fight for the win!"
YART Yamaha EWC
"We enjoyed a really good pre-season test at Circuit Paul Ricard at the beginning of the month, but now we return for the first race of the new EWC season and I can't wait to get started. I'm really happy to be back with YART Yamaha this year. It's good for moral to be back in a team that we know works well and with teammates who are both fast and consistent and this is really important in endurance racing. I'm equally happy with our Yamaha YZF-R1, which has proved already to be a competitive package, and we head into the Bol d'Or fully motivated to fight for the win."
YART Yamaha EWC
"I'm happy to be making my return to EWC, especially after such a positive first test here at Circuit Paul Ricard aboard the YART Yamaha YZF-R1 earlier this month. It will be a long week followed by a long race, but we head into the opening round of the 2019/2020 season determined to do everything we can to add the winner's trophy from the Bol d'Or to the YART Yamaha collection back in Austria! We have shown that we have a strong pace, that we have three fast riders and that the Yamaha YZF-R1 is a competitive package, but this is endurance racing, where anything can happen, so we will also need a little luck if we are to achieve our goal this weekend."
YART Yamaha EWC Team Manager
"Last year we finished second at the Bol d'Or after a big crash and missed out on the win by the narrowest margin ever, but we were happy enough with the result, having suffered some bad luck in this race in the past. After the test at Le Castellet I think we are in incredible shape for the race; the bike is good, and all three riders have shown a good pace here. But racing over 24 hours is very different to testing and that's especially true here at Circuit Paul Ricard, where the long Mistral straight is incredibly hard on the bike, so we also need a little bit of luck like always in endurance racing. This is the only European EWC race that we have never won, so our target is to win this weekend, but then that's our target every time."