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YART Yamaha Impress at Suzuka Test

YART Yamaha Impress at Suzuka Test

The Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team ended the official two-day Pre-Test for the Suzuka 8 Hours in second overall after setting a 2:06.662, ahead of the third round of the FIM Endurance World Championship.

Following their podium at the season's opening round in Le Mans, Niccolò Canepa, Karel Hanika, and Marvin Fritz headed to Suzuka looking to bounce back from the late heartbreak they suffered at Round 2, the SPA 24H EWC Motos. In Belgium, the Austrian squad mounted an incredible fightback during the race, only to be denied victory by a technical issue after 18 hours. You can go exclusively behind the scenes with the team to relive all of the action, drama, and emotion from Spa first-hand in the latest episode of VIP Pass.

The 43rd edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours sees the EWC return to Japan for the first time since 2019 due to the global Covid pandemic. The YART Yamaha team wasted no time getting down to business at the iconic track when testing kicked off on Tuesday morning. Despite rain in the morning, the YART Yamaha R1 hit the ground running, and the team were immediately up to speed, building confidence in each session to end the first day in second overall with a 2:07.341 set during night practice.

Wednesday saw more traditional hot and humid weather conditions, which are expected for the race weekend, greet the teams at the 5.821km circuit. With two long 90-minute sessions scheduled, it gave the YART Yamaha Team the perfect opportunity to work on their race pace. As they dialled in the settings on the R1 and Bridgestone tyres, taking full advantage of the opportunity to use two bikes on track simultaneously in an EWC test, their pace continually improved. During the final session, Fritz set a 2:06.662, under the current race lap record at Suzuka, to end the test second on the combined timesheets and send a message to their factory rivals ahead of the race.

After the first two rounds, the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team are currently third in the overall standings, thirty points behind the championship leaders. They now have a month to prepare before returning to Japan for the legendary Suzuka 8 Hours on the 5th-7th of August.

Karel Hanika

Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

“It was nice to ride again at Suzuka after four years. I had to re-learn the track as it was the first time I had ridden the Yamaha R1 at the circuit, so it was important to work with my teammates. Our main focus was searching for the best tyres for different parts of the race and qualifying. This went well, and we found some good solutions. We still have some work to do with the electronics, but the suspension was excellent. The team did a great job, and we improved session by session. We are ready to fight with the other factories and give it our all.”

Niccolò Canepa

Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

“We are delighted with how the test went. We did not have the highest expectations when we arrived, as some of the other factory teams had already tested at the track, and it was our first time here since 2019. The first mission was to get used to the track again on the YART R1 with the new electronics, but we managed to end the test second fastest overall, so we are happy. We are happy with our lap times, but we still have to improve a little bit on the race pace as some of the factory teams are a bit faster, but we have a couple more days of testing to fix this. It will be interesting to see what we can do, but the team did an amazing job, and the Bridgestone tyres worked superbly at this track, so we think we can be strong.”

Marvin Fritz

Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team

“We had a great test! We were fast right from the start. The first session was wet, but in the dry second session, on the third lap we were already in the 2:08s, so we knew we had a good pace right from the beginning. We still have some stuff to work on with the bike, but we already have found a good base setup and our lap times show this. During the race week, we will also have our Crew Chief Andrew Pitt with us; he will certainly help us go even quicker. All of us were fast and had the same pace during our long runs. It is satisfying to finish second overall ahead of some of the factory teams, as most of them have already tested at the circuit this year, and this was the first time we have been here since 2019. We are happy it was a good test, and now we cannot wait for the race.”