Spa 24-Hour: YART Yamaha ‘aim to leave Spa leading EWC’

| | World News
Picture: EWC

A confident Yamalube YART Yamaha heads to the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps ready to battle for the 24H SPA EWC Motos podium this weekend.

Round 2 of the FIM Endurance World Championship, sees an updated Belgian track return to EWC action for the first time since 2001, providing a unique challenge to the YART Yamaha team.

Reviving the spirit of the iconic 24 Heures de Liège, which was once a mainstay on the calendar, Karel Hanika, Niccolò Canepa, Marvin Fritz and reserve rider Robin Mulhauser are excited to get back in action at the track after a successful two-day Pre-test earlier in May.

Finishing third fastest overall, Fritz and Mulhauser used their prior knowledge of the circuit to help get their teammates - who had not ridden at Spa before - up to speed. They left happy with the setup they found for the YART #7 R1 and Bridgestone tyres around this demanding rollercoaster of a circuit.

The Austrian squad enjoyed a superb start to their 2022 season at the opening round in Le Mans, as they powered to a stunning second-place finish, which means they are currently second overall in the standings with 55 points, eight behind the leaders.

There are 65 points up for grabs in a 24-hour race in 2022, with five points awarded for pole position, 40 for the race win, and ten to the leaders at the eight and 16-hour stages. In 2022 there are three 24-hour races, and the importance of finishing the race to gain as many points as possible is not lost on the team, although after their performance in Le Mans, they are optimistic about being able to fight for the podium once more.

“I am really looking forward to the race because the track is amazing,” Hanika said ahead of Tuesday’s private test session. “I enjoyed riding the circuit at the test, and it suits the R1 perfectly. The Pre-Test went well; we found a good setup and feel confident about the race. We have one more day of private practice to work on a few things before free practice kicks off. It will also be interesting to see what riding at night is like at the track, as it gets very dark. It will be a tough race, but I am confident as the team has prepared as well as possible for it. Our target is to fight for the podium.”

“I am really excited because the Spa-Francorchamps circuit is amazing,” Canepa echoed. “I loved riding it on the YART R1 at the Pre-Test, and while the race will be tough, we are confident that we can fight for the victory.

“After our podium at Le Mans, we know that we can battle at the front, and we aim to leave Spa leading the EWC Championship.”

“I cannot wait for the race!” Fritz added excitedly. “The Pre-Test went well, we showed a consistent pace, and the bike felt great, so we are confident heading into the race. After Le Mans, we feel confident and motivated to build on this.

“For the championship, it is key to finish the race in order to get as many points as possible. Of course, we want to win, but with so many points up for grabs at a 24-hour race, it is essential that we finish to put us in a strong position heading to Suzuka. You never know with Spa what the weather will be like; it will probably rain at some point during the race, but the Bridgestone tyres work well in the wet or dry, so we are confident and looking forward to the race.”

“It is great to be racing at Spa,” Mulhauser concluded. “A new circuit brings many new challenges, but luckily, Marvin and I had ridden here before, and we could help Niccolò and Karel learn the layout. I love the circuit; it is very fast but demanding. We still have a little bit of work to do before the race, but the R1 felt really good at the Pre-Test, so we are confident that once again we can battle for the podium.”

Picture: EWC