The Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders are all set for Round 2 of the 2018 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship at the TT Circuit Assen this weekend after battling through adversity to impress in Aragon. Despite suffering from a power/weight ratio disadvantage in comparison with the other manufacturers on the grid, that saw the leading Yamaha finish 15s behind the race winner, all five of the young bLU cRU riders managed to still shine at the opening round of the season. Determined to fight back in Assen and, hopefully, with some adjustments to the technical regulations, Galang Hendra Pratama, Luca Bernardi, Dennis Koopman, Joep Overbeeke and Hugo de Cancellis will all be hoping to be fighting at the front.
Even the controversy at the opening round regarding absence of a level playing field for the Yamaha riders could not put off Galang Hendra Pratama (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | Biblion Motoxracing Team) as he stayed focused and got his head down to lead the charge for the bLU cRU boys throughout the weekend in Aragon. The only Yamaha rider to make it through to SP2, he qualified in 11th and finished Sunday’s race in a battling 16th place. The 19-year-old Indonesian showcased his talent despite being unable to match the pace of the Kawasaki and KTM’s on the grid and will be looking to close the gap even further in Assen.
Luca Bernardi (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team) qualified in 23rd before going on to make up four places in the race on Sunday at Aragon to cross the line in 19th and the 16-year-old Italian is confident there is more to come at the Round 2.
The recently turned 21-year-old Dutch rider Dennis Koopman (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | GRT Team) enjoyed a strong race at Motorland Aragon after qualifying in 32nd on the grid. Charging his way through the field, he made up 11 places to finish in 21st in Sunday’s race and is looking to do even better at his home round in front of the passionate Dutch fans.
His compatriot 18-year-old Joep Overbeeke (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team) was involved in an excellent race long battle from 26th on the grid in Aragon, fighting all the way to the chequered flag to bring his R3 home in 25th, and he is hoping his local knowledge of the TT Circuit Assen will help him score his first championship points at his home race.
Hugo de Cancellis (Yamaha Pata | Toth – YART Team) is looking to bounce back in Assen after showing promise at Aragon by qualifying in 24th before he was, unfortunately, declared unfit to race on Sunday following a stomach bug.
The five Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders will take to the track at the TT Circuit Assen at Round 2 of the 2018 WorldSSP300 Championship on Friday morning at 11:45 am (CEST) local time for Free Practice 1, with Saturday’s qualifying due to start at 11:30am and Sunday’s race scheduled for 2:20 pm.
Yamaha Motor Europe bLU cRU Racing Manager
“What happened at the opening round of the 2018 WorldSSP300 Championship in Aragon was very unfortunate and reflected badly on our sport. I am so sorry for all the 18 young Yamaha riders on the grid whose dream debut in the World Championship, that they had spent the entire winter working so hard for, was compromised due to the unbalanced bike performance. The whole point of this fantastic entry-level class is to allow manufacturers with larger capacity machines to enter the class but with technical regulations designed to balance out performance levels and ensure it is the riders skills that shine through, not any technical advantages as highlighted below.”
2.7.3 Balancing various motorcycle concepts
The Superbike Commission reserve the right to applying balancing to the machines in the class as they see fit in order to maintain equality amongst machines. Methods may include but are not limited to the following:
– Rev Limit ?
– Weight limit change ?
The decision to apply the handicap will be taken by the Superbike Commission at any time deemed necessary to ensure fair competition.
“We have done everything in our power to make our points and feelings known to the FIM and Dorna and we are confident they will introduce a proper countermeasure to ensure equal and correct competition in time for the Assen round. Considering these factors, the performance from our five bLU cRU riders was superb. I think they impressed everyone with their maturity and the potential shown at Aragon was amazing, especially because they are rookies and the fact that it was their first World Championship race. We try and instil the ‘never give up!’ attitude into all our riders and I am confident they will bounce back strongly in Assen”