Top 10 in the Championship for Galang Hendra as the bLU cRU Riders Sign off the 2018 Season in Magny-Cours
The bLU cRU crew were once again in the heat of the action in Round 8 of the FIM World Supersport 300 Championship at Circuit de Nevers in Magny-Cours this weekend. Galang Hendra Pratama was the top qualifier in ninth, but it was an on fire Luca Bernardi who led the bLU cRU charge on Sunday, battling at the front throughout the race to secure fifth place at the line. Galang Hendra brought his R3 home in 15th place to claim a single point, with Hugo de Cancellis finishing the final race of the season 19th and Dennis Koopman 27th.
Luca Bernardi (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team) started the 12-lap race from 18th position on the grid, but rode a superb first half of the race to carve his way through the leading group. The 17-year-old Italian was fully involved in the battle for the win in the second half of the race, timing his run through the pack perfectly to take the lead with just two laps to go. Bernardi fought valiantly to stay in front, but was unable to hold off his slipstreaming pursuers and was forced to settle for fifth at the chequered flag. As a result Bernardi finished the season 17th in the championship standings with 20 points.
Galang Hendra Pratama (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | Biblion Motoxracing Team) was unable to fully capitalise on a superb Superpole performance in Sunday's race, which he started from ninth position on the third row of the grid. The Indonesian youngster was struggling to match the pace of his rivals in the top group on corner exit, but managed to stay in contention to pick up one point in 15th position at the chequered flag. The Indonesian youngster ended the season 10th in the championship standings, the highest placed bLU cRU rider.
French youngster Hugo de Cancellis (Yamaha Pata | Toth - YART Team) was racing in front of his home crowd this weekend in Magny-Cours. De Cancellis qualified in 20th position but was disappointed not to make up more places in the race, which he finished in 19th place, having been caught in a large group during the early stages. The Frenchman ended the season 34th in the championship standings with two points.
Dennis Koopman (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | GRT Team) had some work to do in the race after qualifying in 35th in Magny-Cours, another new track for the Dutch youngster. A good start and aggressive opening laps saw the Dutch youngster make up places but then he got caught in a large group and was unable to progress further. Koopman eventually finished 27th in the race, ending the season 33rd in the championship with three points.
Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider - 5th +0.939
"Magny-Cours was a very positive weekend with which to end the season. I found a good feeling with the bike from the very start and the set-up suited very well the circuit. In the race I started quite far down the grid in 18th position, but I was able to overtake a lot of riders on every lap to reach the front group by half race distance. I continued pushing my way to the front and it was an incredible experience to actually lead the race, but the riders behind me were then able to use my slipstream to get past. I was very close to the win, but I'm still happy with fifth place in the final race of the season. Thanks to the Trasimeno team for their great work, to my sponsors for their support and to Yamaha for giving me this opportunity."
Galang Hendra Pratama
Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider - 15th +3.200
"It was a difficult race for me and the team. In free practice and qualifying I had a good feeling with the bike and was able to do the lap times on my own, but it was different in the race. When I was in the pack, fighting with other riders, I didn't have the same drive out of the corners and I was losing time in every turn. I tried to stay focused and in contention with the top group, but at the end I could only finish 15th and pick up one point. It was not a good position in which to finish the season for me or the team, but I want to say thank you to Yamaha, to Yamaha Indonesia and all of our sponsors for their support this year. This was my first full season in the World Championship and I have gained a lot of experience. Now I am looking forward to next season already!"
Hugo de Cancellis
Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider - 19th +19.846
"The first free practice session went well, but then we tried a different suspension setting in FP2 that didn't really work for us and I was unable to improve my time. I qualified 20th for the race, but I didn't have the best of first laps and lost quite a few places. I tried to fight back through the field, but it was difficult as I was caught in a big group of riders. I'm disappointed to finish my home race only in 19th position and that I didn't score points in France. I want to thank Yamaha, my team, my sponsors and my family for this season, which has been a fantastic experience."
Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider - 27th +43.608
"Magny-Cours was another new track for me, so free practice was all about learning the fastest lines. In Superpole I managed to improve my lap time by two seconds and I was feeling good for the race. I got a good start and made up some places from the beginning, but then I got caught in the wrong group and it was impossible to get away from them. In the end I finished 27th, which was my best position of the weekend. Sadly it was the last race of the 2018 season but I would like to say a big thank you to Yamaha, to the GRT team and to Pearle Gebben Racing for this amazing opportunity. I also want to thank my personal sponsors because without their support this season would not have been possible."
Yamaha Motor Europe bLU cRU Racing Manager
"The bLU cRU squad did a great job in Magny-Cours. The race was a big challenge because of the big groups of riders on track; blink and you'd lost a position! In this class you need to ride smart and react to what is happening around you, adapting your strategy to suit the changing circumstances. It was a challenging way to end the season but we are happy that all of the bLU cRU riders gained so much experience and have grown up race-by-race over the course of the year. Now they need to build on this experience and take onboard all the advice they've received if they are to progress further along this racing path. A big thanks to all the riders and the team staff, it has been another interesting racing season. Finally special thanks to all our sponsors that continue to believe in this project and to the parents and supporters of the riders. The 2019 season is coming and it will find us ready."