YART Yamaha sit second at Suzuka test

| | World News
Picture: Yamaha Racing

Two days of testing saw Yamaha’s Official EWC Team second in the official Pre-Test standings ahead of August’s Suzuka 8-Hours.

A best effort of 2’06.662 around Japan’s iconic 5.8km figure-of-eight circuit, placed the YART squad - featuring Niccolò Canepa, Karel Hanika, and Marvin Fritz - second only to home heroes Honda.

The 43rd edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours, and third round of 2022’s FIM Endurance World Championship, sees the EWC return to Japan for the first time since 2019 due to the global Covid pandemic on the 5th-7th of August.

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 the more traditional hot and humid weather conditions expected for the race weekend, with two long 90-minute sessions providing the trio the perfect opportunity to work on their race pace. Fritz set the 2’06.662 - under the current Suzuka race lap record - during the final session, to end the test second on the combined timesheets.

“We had a great test!” Fritz enthused as the test concluded. “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.”

“It was nice to ride again at Suzuka after four years,” Hanika agreed. “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.”

“We are delighted with how the test went,” Canepa added. “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.”

Picture: Yamaha Racing
Picture: Yamaha Racing