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YART Yamaha Ready to Kick Off 2022 EWC Season at Le Mans

YART Yamaha Ready to Kick Off 2022 EWC Season at Le Mans

The Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team are confident of starting their campaign in style at the opening round of the FIM Endurance World Championship, the 45th edition of the iconic Le Mans 24 Heures Motos in France.

YART Yamaha wants to bounce back after a difficult 2021 season that saw them finish sixth overall in the standings after suffering from bad luck at crucial moments, despite consistently being the fastest team on the grid. Riders Niccola Canepa, Marvin Fritz, and Karel Hanika head to the Bugatti Circuit full of confidence after an excellent pre-season with the team, happy with the work done on the electronics and with the Bridgestone tyres on the YART R1.

Last year they qualified on pole at Le Mans and looked strong before being forced to retire after a mechanical failure in hour ten while running in second. To get their year off to the best possible start, the 2009 EWC Champions are looking to re-create the magic of their title-winning season when they started their campaign with victory at Le Mans.

There are sixty points up for grabs during a 24-hour race in the EWC, and with three on the 2022 calendar, the team are under no illusion of the importance of securing an excellent finish to get their season off to the best possible start. The Austrian-based squad head into the race as the team to beat after a sensational performance in the recent two-day Official Pre-Test at the circuit, where they went under the lap record with a 1:35.707 to top the timesheets. They carried this form into Tuesday's private test by setting the fastest time again, despite bad weather curtailing most of the afternoon action.

The Viltais Racing Igol Team are also full of confidence heading to Le Mans off the back of their best-ever finish in the EWC. In 2021 they brought home fourth overall and were the top Yamaha team in the championship, with riders Florian Alt, Erwan Nigon, and former Moto2 rider Steven Odendaal looking to build on that performance in 2022.

After finishing 11th overall in 2021, the experienced Wojcik Racing Team of Matthieu Gines, Sheridan Morais, and Lamil Kresmien will be looking to get their season off to the best possible start in North-West France. Former MotoGP rider Claudio Corti and Frenchman Corentin Perolari will spearhead the attack in 2022 for Team Moto AIN as they enter their second season in the Formula EWC class after winning back-to-back titles in the Endurance World Cup.

Maco Racing Team's Anthony West, Enzo Boulom, and Richard Bodis will be looking to record a top-ten finish after missing out by the slightest margin in 2020 and 2021, crossing the line in 11th both times. The 2016 Endurance World Cup winners, 3ART Best of Bike, are heading to Le Mans off the back of securing 17th overall last season, with an all-French lineup of Nicolas Escudier, Martin Renaudin and Matthieu Lagrive.

The Bugatti Circuit, located in Le Mans, France, was constructed in 1965 and featured on the EWC calendar for the first time in 1978. At 4.185km in length, with 14 corners (five left-handed, nine right-handed) and a straight of 674m, the circuit's current layout has been in use since 2008. It features a mix of low, medium, and high-speed corners, heavy braking zones, elevation changes, fast changes of direction, and unpredictable weather conditions, making the track one of the most demanding on the calendar.  The French circuit will also welcome back fans this weekend for the first time since 2019, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Le Mans 24 Heures Motos kicks off on Thursday with a two-hour Free Practice session at 9:45 am local time (UTC+2), followed by the First Qualifying sessions between 4:00 pm - 5:50 pm, and Night Practice between 8:30 pm-11:00 pm. The Second Qualifying sessions take place on Friday between 10:20 am and 12:10 pm, before the race starts at 3 pm on Saturday.

Niccolo Canepa

Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

"I am excited for the 2022 season to start. We were fast in the Pre-Test, and all three riders showed excellent consistency and pace. The YZF-R1 is working well, and the team have also been working hard to put us in the best possible position to win the race. I think we are ready to take on the Le Mans 24h. We need some luck, especially after the last couple of years where we have been unfortunate not to finish the race, but this is endurance racing, and we are ready to give our best."

Marvin Fritz

Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

"We had a good Pre-Test at Le Mans; we were fast in all conditions and quick in the wet. We have been working a lot on the new electronics and new tyres from Bridgestone and have found some good solutions. All of the riders feel good on the bike, so we are confident for the new season, maybe more confident than we have ever been. We are feeling positive and motivated for the new season. We learnt a lot during the last few seasons! We will, of course, look to secure pole position, but the most important thing is to finish the race. This year we have three 24-hour races, with many points up for grabs, so this makes it incredibly important to ensure we finish every race to ensure we are in the fight for the championship. That is our goal this year, to fight for the championship. We believe we have the best team, the best bike, and the best package, plus I am happy to have the two fastest riders in EWC as my teammates, which motivates me a lot to be faster. We have a great friendship, but we are also very competitive with each other, which is perfect for endurance. I can't wait to start practice on Thursday, and I am looking forward to the race!"

Karel Hanika

Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team

"I am thrilled to be at the first race of the season finally. We worked hard during the winter, and the team did a great job improving the bike as much as they could. I have been working hard to prepare for this race, as it is tough physically. We hope for more luck overall this year, and we will do our best. We are confident we can get a good result, and our aim this year is to win the title!"

Mandy Kainz

Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team - Team Manager

"We have had an excellent offseason and arrive in Le Mans ready to kick off the championship. We worked hard on the bike and made some good steps forward; now, it is about putting that all into practice. We have not had the best of luck at Le Mans in the past, but we hope to change that this year and preparations have gone well. The riders have been fast in all conditions during testing and are full of confidence with the R1, so we are looking forward to showing our potential during the race."