The YART Yamaha rider lineup of Karel Hanika, Niccolò Canepa, and Marvin Fritz will spearhead Yamaha’s attack at the 44th Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race, plus their R1 will feature a special livery based on this year’s new bottle design for RS4GP, the flagship product of the Yamalube line of Genuine Yamaha engine oils.
The Austrian squad head into the race weekend full of confidence, leading the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) by one point and buoyed by their victory last time out at the 24H SPA EWC Motos. They also put in an impressive performance at the official Suzuka Pre-Test in July. During the two days, they set a 2'06.813, which was good enough to secure fourth overall on the timesheets while showing superb race pace in both the wet and dry.
The team’s win at Spa was their first 24-hour race triumph since Le Mans in 2009, the season that also saw them lift their last EWC title, and when added to their second place during the opening round of the year at Le Mans, it means the #7 Bridgestone-shod YART R1 has secured 118 points so far in 2023. In such a tight championship battle, Suzuka could prove crucial to their title aspirations with 35 points up for grabs over the weekend, five in the Top 10 Trial and 30 during the eight-hour race.
The YART Yamaha team have finished agonisingly close to the podium at Suzuka in previous years, including a fourth-place finish in their championship-winning 2009 season. In 2022, they were third with an hour to go before a late crash saw them miss out on their dream before mounting an excellent fightback to finish in seventh.
Following that result, the team is determined to make it onto the box in 2023 while ensuring they secure the maximum number of points for the championship. However, they are under no illusions that it will be easy, despite fewer factory teams participating in the race than usual.