bLU cRU Riders Battle Hard at Donington for WorldSSP300 Round 4

The five Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders gave it their all for Round 4 of the 2018 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship at Donington Park this weekend with Galang Hendra Pratama leading the Yamaha charge. The 19-year-old Indonesian was the stand out rider once again after finishing Sunday’s race in ninth, but all five showcased their talent on their first visit to the UK circuit. Luca Bernardi mounted a superb charge from 28th on the grid to cross the line in 14th, Dennis Koopman was 19th ahead of Hugo de Cancellis in 21st, while Joep Overbeeke was unlucky to have his chain break in the latter stages of the race and was forced to retire.

19-year-old Indonesian rider Galang Hendra Pratama (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | Biblion Motoxracing Team) was on fire on Friday, despite a crash on his out-lap in FP1 that saw him miss the entire session. Making up for lost time in FP2, he ended Friday in a sensational second on the combined timesheets,  but a technical issue with his quickshifter during SP2 had meant that he could only qualify in 11th on the grid for Sunday’s race. The man from Yogyakarta was being cheered on by thousands of his passionate Indonesian fans, speaking to them live via a video call first and then the WorldSSP300 race was shown on a big screen at the Yamaha Indonesia booth at the Pekan Raya in Jakarta.

Determined to put on a show for his loyal supporters, when the lights went out he had a tricky start and dropped down to 14th during the early stages of the race. Fighting back hard and showing true Semakin di Depan spirit, Galang passed rider after rider and showed excellent consistency at a track he had never ridden before FP1 on Friday. Battling all the way to the chequered flag, he crossed the line in ninth as the leading Yamaha to record his second top-ten finish in 2018 and secure seven championship points. This sees Galang now 12th in the overall standings with 18 points after five races and leading the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge.

Luca Bernardi (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team) had a tricky SP1 that saw him forced to start the race from 28th on the grid but when the lights went out for the race, he showed everyone the true bLU cRU fighting spirit, making up fourteen places to finish in 14th place. It was the 16-year-old Italians second points-scoring finish in a row and he is now 19th in the WorldSSP300 Championship standings with six points and second overall in the challenge.

21-year-old Dutch rider Dennis Koopman (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | GRT Team) gave it his all during Sunday’s race from 25th on the grid to cross the line in 19th and he occupies 23rd in the overall standings and is third in the challenge with 3 points.

Hugo de Cancellis (Yamaha Pata | Toth – YART Team) had another encouraging result in Sunday’s race. Starting from 22nd on the grid, the 16-year-old French rider managed to secure 21st at the line as he continues the hunt for his first championship point.

It was a disappointing end to the weekend for 18-year-old Dutch rider Joep Overbeeke (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team) as was he was forced to retire with just two laps to go in the race when his chain snapped after starting from 29th on the grid.

The Yamaha R3 bLU cRU challenge riders are next in action at Round 5 of the 2018 WorldSSP300 Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic on the 8th-10th of June.

Galang Hendra Pratama

Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider – 9th +10.006s

“Today in the race I started from 11th because yesterday I had a technical issue during SP2. During the race, I tried to reach the top group but the other bikes were simply too fast compared to mine. I am now focused on the next race in Brno where I will do my best to fight at the front!”

Luca Bernardi

Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider – 14th +26.514s

“The race went well! I’m happy to have finished in 14th place but I’m not happy with my qualifying because I had to start from P28 on the grid. I really enjoyed the Donington Park track and I had a good feeling with my Yamaha R3 around the circuit. In the race, I made up a lot of places and enjoyed lots of good battles and it was great to record my second points-scoring finish. I would like to thank the whole of my Trasimeno team and, of course, Yamaha for this incredible opportunity.”

Dennis Koopman

Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider – 19th +27.697s

“Again for me, this was a new track for me and after a track walk with the team, I had a good feeling about the circuit! In FP1, it was completely wet. I love the wet conditions and topped the timesheets right from the beginning. I got a little bit too much confidence and I lost the rear in Turn 1 and when I was back in pit lane there were only 10 minutes left in the session. After a quick check from my mechanics, they sent me out and within 2 laps I kept improving my lap time. In FP2, the conditions were difficult because the track was not wet but there were some damp patches and a lot of wind. I wanted to go straight into Superpole 2 but I didn’t make it. I had to set a time in Superpole 1 but I got mixed up in the wrong group and ended up in P25. I wasn’t too happy about it but it could’ve been worse. After a decent start in the race, I made up some places and was eventually fighting for P13. I was on the tale of the group and couldn’t make up more places. I am happy with P19 but I’m eager to get some better results! A big thank you to my team and sponsors!”

Hugo de Cancellis

Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider – 21st +45.124s

“The beginning of the weekend was okay, I was happy with qualifying in 23rd. The race was tricky for me, because I had a bad start and I missed out on being in the front group. I fought hard and did the best I could to finish in 21st. Now I turn my focus to Brno where I hope to I can finish in the points!

Joep Overbeeke

Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Rider – DNF

“FP1 was tricky because of the weather, also it was the first time for me riding on the R3 in heavy rain. After five minutes I crashed in Turn 5 at full throttle but, luckily, myself and the bike were okay. FP2 was much better for me. We made a few changes to the bike, a different sprocket and some suspension tweaks and, even though it was my first time in Donington in dry conditions, I had a really good feeling with the track and bike. I was doing some good lap times but the sprocket we used was a little bit too long for the straight. We needed to fix it on Saturday, so we took a gamble in SP1 and used a shorter sprocket but it was a little bit too short. I qualified in 22nd and I was only two seconds slower than the quickest rider, which was good. During the race, I had to avoid a crash and I lost touch with the group I was in and dropped back a bit. I then locked  my rear wheel while avoiding another bike and lost  five places, so I tried to push to make up the time but in the Fogarty Esses my chain broke while I was at full throttle and I only just managed to save a big crash and get the bike stopped, but that was, unfortunately, race over for me. I hope for better luck in Brno!”

Alberto Barozzi

Yamaha Motor Europe bLU cRU Racing Manager

“At this iconic circuit, unknown to all the 5 bLU cRU boys, it was another interesting performance for all the group. They are gaining experience during  every session and their progress has getting better and better. After four races, we have reach the halfway point of the season and it’s time to do a sum up of the project. Overall, all riders have started the season in the correct way, improving their skills and knowledge race by race, plus their professional attitude and behaviour have been in line with what is expected in the world championship. It has not been easy for them, with the issues with the technical regulations being balanced, so their results are actually a lot better than they seem on paper. Galang has shown his talent to the world and has been consistently going about 2s a lap quicker than the riders last year. Dennis has improved his race approach and is showing a lot more consistency now. Joep is getting to grips with the championship well and he is gaining a good understanding of what it takes to ride at this level and has also shown great attitude. The two youngest riders have been super as well. Luca has been superb in the races and is learning his race craft very quickly, he just needs to work on his qualifying. Hugo has so much potential, it is a case of just learning to be patient and to focus his passion and determination and I think we are starting to see this. I am excited to continue working with them all and I am very proud of all the teams too. I would like to say thank you Motoxracing, YART, GRT and Trasimeno for all of their excellent work, and to all of the staff related to the project for providing such good support for the riders.”

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