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Victory in Spa Ends YART Yamaha’s 14-year Wait For 24-hour EWC Glory

Victory In Spa Ends Yart Yamaha’s 14-year Wait For 24-hour Ewc Glory YART Yamaha Official EWC moved to the top of the provisional FIM Endurance World Championship standings with victory in the 24H SPA EWC Motos today (Sunday), a result that ends the Austrian squad’s 14-year wait for a twice-around-the-clock triumph.

Despite a sluggish start for Marvin Fritz, YART Yamaha quickly kicked into gear and took the fight to its title rivals in an epic early showdown at the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

F.C.C. TSR Honda led the Spa order after eight hours, with YART repaying the compliment after 16. But while YART largely stayed out of trouble, exhaust problems forced F.C.C. TSR Honda into the pits for five minutes just after the 16-hour mark.

This costly stoppage allowed YART to steal a march, and even a damaged rear tyre just before 19 hours was swiftly changed in the pits, allowing the team to continue its victory charge for its first win over 24 hours since it triumphed at Le Mans in 2009.

A delighted Niccolò Canepa, who joined Fritz and Karel Hanika on the Bridgestone-equipped #7 bike, believes it is just the beginning for YART.

He said: “It has been a few years that we have been chasing this victory and I think it’s the first of many. We all deserve it, and I am so happy about that. Thanks to all the people involved in this project and it’s just the beginning.

“It has been an amazing race. To be honest, it was really, really tough. It was not easy from the beginning to the end. Up until the last laps, there was a question mark.

“The team did an amazing job in every pit stop and my team-mates too. We pushed from the first lap to the last one. We never stopped believing. It’s a long time since we won a 24-hour race. But in our minds, there was only one goal – to win – no matter what.”

Fritz believes the victory gives YART much more than first place in the provisional standings after a number of near misses in its quest for a 24-hour win. He said: “The championship lead is one thing; the biggest boost is the motivation for all the staff and the riders.

“We ride and push so hard at every race and then in every race, something happens at the last moment. The biggest bonus is the motivation to show YART can’t just win qualifying – we can win over 24 hours.

“I don’t know how many times we have been close. I didn’t come here with too many hopes because I know pole position never brings me luck. When we have pole position, I think ‘this is probably not a good omen.’ But finally, we took it all.”

Hanika was delighted to be part of YART’s famous victory. He said: “I am super happy with this win. It is my first 24-hour win, and the feeling is really amazing. The team did a great job. Big thanks to Yamaha, Bridgestone and to all my team-mates, all the people who are part of the team and my family.

“The first 15 hours of the race were non-stop pushing, so it was good to take some rest at the end. It was definitely a very difficult race. The competition was very strong. We couldn’t stop pushing for one lap. It was a very nice race for the spectators.”

Victory In Spa Ends Yart Yamaha’s 14-year Wait For 24-hour Ewc Glory

Belgian squad BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team took full advantage of a series of Yoshimura SERT Motul misfortunes to take third place in its home event, with the Suzuki-powered squad placed fourth.

BMW Motorrad was slowed by some mechanical issues in the first eight hours, but Yoshimura SERT Motul endured a luckless race after starting firmly in contention for the lead. Sylvain Guintoli attempted to pit at the wrong garage in the first hour. The team was then hit by a costly stop-go penalty for contact by Étienne Masson with the Holland Motorstore Racing bike in turn seven just after the five-hour mark.

The Japanese team’s misfortune continued when its bike was forced into the pits for three minutes to rectify a technical issue after six hours. Its chances of a top-three finish were then ended for good when its bike required a water pump change with three and a half hours remaining.

Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar claimed fifth place, overcoming an early crash for Kazuki Watanabe, who was taken to hospital for checks, but returned to the track to resume what was then a pretty smooth race.

Belgian outfit KM99 fought its way back into sixth after a fine night with its Yamaha, blazing from 14th place overall after eight hours to sixth spot after 16. This came after Bastian Mackels crashed at Eau Rouge in the opening hour, before his team-mate Lucas Mahias slipped off near the pit entrance at the seven-and-a-half-hour mark.

Honda Viltaïs Racing took seventh place, with Motobox Kremer Racing eighth, MANA-AU Competition ninth and TATI Team Beringer Racing taking the 10th and final scoring position in a race hit by light rain in the closing stages.

ERC Endurance Ducati was unable to follow up its fourth place at the EWC opener in Le Mans, retiring after nearly four hours. Wójcik Racing Team EWC followed suit after seven and a half hours, with Team Bolliger Switzerland forced out when its bike was beached in the gravel after 18 hours.Victory In Spa Ends Yart Yamaha’s 14-year Wait For 24-hour Ewc Glory

National Motos Honda revived its FIM Endurance World Cup title hopes after topping the podium in the Dunlop Superstock Trophy category.

The French team, a Honda motorcycle dealership and an EWC stalwart entrant, moved up to third place in the standings with victory in Belgium, as Team 33 Louit April Moto took second following a close battle.

Honda No Limits, fourth in the Le Mans season opener, took third to climb to second in the provisional title order, finishing three laps behind the winners and edging out Chromeburner-RAC41-Honda, the new points leader, for the last podium spot.

National Motos’ Sébastian Suchet was elated with a hard-fought victory. He said: “It’s a very different circuit from what we’re used to, but the real challenge of this race was our competitors. They didn’t give up on us the whole race.

“We gained tenths and seconds here and there to achieve this result. We had no room for error, but we did what was necessary. We had instructions that were clear, and it paid off.

“Throughout the race, we were often first, but sometimes second or third and all the time you could throw a handkerchief over us and our competitors.

“You feel fatigue less when you win. I am very happy for the team and for everyone. We’ve been chasing this victory for a while. We had to do everything well but sometimes things don’t go as planned. This time we managed to do everything from start to finish, so I am happy for everyone.”Victory In Spa Ends Yart Yamaha’s 14-year Wait For 24-hour Ewc Glory

National Motos Honda was deadlocked in a tense fight for supremacy with RAC41 during the night. But disaster struck for the latter team after 16 and a half hours, when Chris Leesch crashed, forcing the team to pit for repairs.

It did enough to salvage fourth place, overcoming more mechanical drama in the closing hour of the race to get back on track and top the overall standings on 85 points – six ahead of the Honda No Limits team, which has 79.

TRT27 Bazar 2 La Bécane took fifth spot in Spa, with Slider Endurance placed sixth ahead of BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers in seventh.

Wójcik Racing Team STK was eighth after being forced into the pits just before the 16-hour mark with mechanical problems, before Kamil Krzemień crashed shortly afterwards.

JMA Racing Action Bike was ninth and Holland Motorstore Racing rounded off the Superstock point scorers in 10th spot.

The EWC heads from Belgium to Japan for the 44th Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race from 4-6 August.

For more info check out our dedicated Endurance World Championship News page Endurance World Championship

or visit the official Endurance World Championship website

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