YART win 12 Hours of Estoril but SERT clinch FIM Endurance World Championship

12 Hours of Estoril

2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship

The Yamalube YART Yamaha Team have taken victory in the first-ever Estoril 12-Hour after a sublime performance from Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccoló Canepa. The Wojcik Racing Team and Moto AIN team made it a triple celebration for Yamaha on the Estoril podium, with Wojcik finishing third overall and Moto AIN taking the FIM Superstock World Cup race win and 2019/2020 title.

The premier FIM Endurance World Championship crown though went to the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team. SERT won the 2019-2020 Endurance World Championship and are now 16-time title victors with riders Etienne Masson, Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon recorded 416 laps of the Estoril Circuit aboard their GSX-R1000 to cross the finish line in fourth position and claim the season victory by 18 points over runners-up YART.

SERT’s Etienne Masson

At the Estporil 12-Hour YART Yamaha and F.C.C. TSR Honda France battled it out until the last minute of an action-packed race. After a 12-hour thriller, YART Yamaha won the day thanks to riders Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa, with a less-than-25-second lead over F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike di Meglio. Their win is equally a victory for Bridgestone, supplier to these two highly competitive teams.

Josh Hook F.C.C. TSR Honda France

The YART Yamaha squad got their championship-deciding race underway in the hands of Marvin Fritz. The German had a tough start, suffering from a small technical issue, dropping to the back of the field as the pack battled their way into turn one.

The former IDM Superbike champion kept a calm head, quickly making his way through the field, he found himself lying in seventh at the end of the first five minutes. Fritz continued to work his way towards the front, setting an early fastest lap as the track temperature began to rise.

SERT pit stop

As he found his rhythm, Fritz was just out of podium reach after making his way up to fourth. He wasted no time getting past the F.C.C TSR Honda, swooping around the outside at the final corner, finishing the move into turn one, he began to chase after the race leader.

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team

After an impressive first stint, Fritz handed the YART R1 over to Karel Hanika, who instantly began to pile the pressure on the BMW team. However, his opening stint was made a little easier, taking the lead of the race after the BMW Motorrad team crashed out of contention.

Controlling the pace, YART continued to dominate proceedings. Hanika was deep into his second stint when he suffered a small technical issue with his right footrest. Unalarmed, he kept a calm head, alerting the team before pulling in to make the quick repair. With just over four hours on the clock, Niccoló Canepa took over from the Czech rider.

YART ahead of BMW Endurance

As the race approached its half-way mark, YART held a lead of just one second over the F.C.C TSR Honda, with a battle that was set to go down to the wire.

Josh Hook F.C.C. TSR Honda France

As the track temperature continued to rise to 43 degrees, Hanika had a steady start to his next stint, building temperature into his Bridgestone tyres. With just under six hours remaining, there was no room for error in the second-longest race of the season. The Czech rider was quick to settle into his next stint, shadowing the F.C.C TSR Honda team and eventually took the lead back at turn six after losing it briefly on his out lap.

Josh Hook

We had a good bike throughout the race and we had the pace to win the race. It was definitely hard during the back-to-back stints towards the end. There are definitely some things we have to improve on in the pit lane, because I think this cost us a good chance of winning this race. But we have to be happy with the result, we finished second, our lap times were good and even if it’s not a win it’s a good result. When your bike is amazing, it doesn’t matter where you are. The team has made an amazing job in here and I want to say a big thank you to the team and everybody who was involved. I am already looking forward to next year.”

Josh Hook F.C.C. TSR Honda France

With two-thirds race distance approaching, the pressure was back on YART after their lead was closed down once again. With Fritz back on board, the German held on to the lead at the eight-hour mark, collecting ten further championship points, adding to the five they took for pole position.

YART and FCC TSR Honda

There were more celebrations at the eight-hour mark as the Moto AIN DAFY squad confirmed their FIM Endurance World Cup title thanks to the efforts of Roby Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Hugo Clere.

SERT’s Xavier Simeon

Back at the front, Hanika ran into further issues, experiencing another problem with his right footrest. Both YART and Hanika were quick to fix the problem and continued to lap comfortably in the low 1:40’s as the sun began to set on the Estoril track.

With two hours remaining, YART Yamaha found themselves in a battle for the lead once again, with two different strategies for the leading two teams. However, YART used their experience to time their final pit stop to perfection, with Fritz pitting for a splash and dash nine minutes before the end of the race, securing the victory by 24.5 seconds.

SERT’s Gregg Black

Unfortunately for the team, despite a clean sweep, it wasn’t enough to take the world championship, finishing the ultra-competitive 2019/2020 EWC season in second overall, 18 points adrift of eventual winners, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.

The Wojcik Yamaha Team had a strong race, running inside the top five throughout the 12-hours to take an overall third place, joining YART on the podium. Meanwhile, Moto AIN rode to an impressive eighth place, taking the World Cup race win and the 2019/2020 crown.

12 Hours of Estoril

Another strong result saw Yamaha crowned manufacturers champions, picking up 237 points across the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship season.

Mandy Kainz: Team Manager, Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Team

“On paper, it looked clear; I don’t think we’ve ever dominated like this before. From free practice to night practice, qualifying and warm-up, we were dominating the field, but it wasn’t an easy race. It was a mixed race, with some bad luck and some luck on our side, it shows once again how unpredictable Endurance is. But in the end, we did what we wanted to do, we took maximum points, and came close to winning the championship. We once again showed the potential of the team, the new R1 and the Bridgestone tyres. The team did an amazing job; we were on top in every session; everything was perfect. It was a hard battle with Honda, but in the end, we came out on top!”

YART won the 12 Hours of Estoril

VRD Igol Pierret Experiences were 5th at the finish after a 12-hour battle with the factory teams. In the saddle of the Yamaha 333, Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Nico Terol finished ahead of Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. The Kawasaki team lost out on a podium due to a broken chain. After leading at the start of the race, the factory BMW team powered back up through the field to 7th place overall following a crash.

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team

The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team had spent over an hour at the head of the field, before things took a turn for the worse. Hickman skidded and crashed in a left-hander. He was able to continue, but the relatively minor crash caused such severe damage to the bike that it required a long stop for repairs. That saw the #37 bike drop back to 19th place, eight laps behind the leaders. As the race progressed, the trio of Reiterberger, Foray and Hickman set about gradually working their way back through the field. After 12 hours, the #37 crossed the finish line in seventh place.

World Champions – SERT

The 2019/20 season, which started one year ago at Le Castellet, had been reduced to four races as a result of the coronavirus. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team claimed its first podium against the top-class world championship field with third place at the opening round. The next podium came in the second race in mid-December at Sepang (MAS), courtesy of another third place. After a break, the season resumed at Le Mans (FRA) at the end of August. Shortly before the finish, the team crashed out whilst running fifth. Seventh place at the finale in Estoril means the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team ends its debut season in sixth place overall.

Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director

“It is obviously disappointing at first, when you suffer such a set-back whilst leading the race. We had our sights set on a top finish and saw that we had the potential to achieve that. However, these things happen in racing. Neither the team nor the riders buried their heads in the sand after that incident. Instead, they battled and gave it their all right through to the finish. Although we did not get the result we were after at the finale, you have to look at the big picture. It was our first season in FIM EWC, with its very strong field, and we had little preparation time before our first outing at the Bol d’Or one year ago. We have twice finished on the podium in this season’s four races, and were extremely competitive at the other two events. In addition, we were able to prove the reliability of our RR at the Le Mans 24-hour race as well as at the 12-hour race at Estoril, even if we lost strong positions there due to riding mistakes. That is overall not a bad record for us as ‘rookies’. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and the BMW S 1000 RR have established themselves among the best in the world at the first attempt. I would like to say a big thank you to Werner Daemen, Steven Casaer and the entire team for the hard and highly-professional work they have put in this season. We achieved a very high standard in our first year, which gives us an outstanding basis for our second season in FIM EWC. Congratulations to our tyre partner Dunlop who won the title with SERT. We will start a new attempt to fight for the title in the coming season.”

BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team

Two high profile-teams were forced to retire due to crashes: ERC Endurance (Ducati) dropped out in the very first hour while Bolliger Team Switzerland (Kawasaki) retired in the fourth hour. National Motos dropped out of the rankings a little over 6 hours into the race following an engine issue. The privateer Honda fielded by the eponymous Paris dealership had been running a fine race in the Top 15 with only two riders, Stéphane Egea and Guillaume Antiga.

Hanspeter Bolliger was awarded the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy to honour his 38-year passion for endurance racing and the final race of his career at Estoril.

12 Hours of Estoril Results

Pos Team Bike Class Time
1 YART – YAMAHA Yamaha EWC 12:01m03.931
2 F.C.C. TSR Honda France Honda EWC 12:01m28.455
3 Wójcik Racing Team Yamaha EWC 12:01m23.070
4 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Suzuki EWC 12:01m47.759
8 TEAM MOTO AIN Yamaha SST 12:01m40.161
9 Team LRP Poland BMW EWC 12:02m25.680
10 3ART BEST OF BIKE Yamaha EWC 12:02m39.305
11 Team Aviobike Yamaha SST 12:01m59.377
12 Wójcik Racing Team 2 Yamaha SST 12:02m29.395
13 JMA MOTOS ACTION BIKE Suzuki SST 12:01m42.197
14 No Limits Motor Team Suzuki SST 12:01m44.575
15 ARTEC Kawasaki SST 12:02m12.295
16 MACO RACING Team Yamaha EWC 12:01m45.442
17 LCR ENDURANCE Yamaha SST 12:01m08.862
18 British Endurance Racing Team Suzuki EWC 12:01m48.473
19 Motobox Kremer Racing #65 Yamaha EWC 12:02m33.422
20 National Motos Honda EWC 06:27m22.716
21 Team Bolliger Switzerland Kawasaki EWC 03:06m53.849
22 PITLANE ENDURANCE Yamaha SST 00:58m49.110
23 ERC-Endurance Ducati EWC 00:10m50.937

Source: MCNews.com.au

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