Yamaha Motor Europe is pleased to confirm the rider lineup for the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team ahead of the opening round of the 2017/2018 FIM Endurance World Championship at the Bol D’or on the 16th-17th September. The YART team ended the season in third overall after battling at the front during the majority of races and finishing as the leading full-time team at the Suzuka 8 Hours. As they prepare for the first race of the new season the team will once again comprise of Broc Parkes, Kohta Nozane and Marvin Fritz.
YART enter the 2017/2018 season buoyed by their finish as the leading full-time Endurance team at the Suzuka 8 Hours and their excellent form shown in the last four races. A DNF at the Bol d’Or was not the start the team were looking for, but superb second-place finishes at the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans and the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, plus their fourth at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring, meant they went to Suzuka with an outside chance of lifting the title if other results went their way. The team did everything they possibly could to be in with a chance of winning, riding superbly to finish in fifth, but it was not to be as other results went against them and they ended the season in third overall, just 15.5 points behind the champions GMT94. The team are keen to carry their momentum into the new season and keeping a consistent line up will only add to their chances of challenging for the title.
Broc Parkes remains in the team for the sixth successive season on the YART Yamaha R1, having joined them in 2013. The 35-year-old Australian is a former runner-up in WorldSSP (2008) and after a strong finish to last season, will be looking to spearhead the team’s hunt for their first EWC title since 2009. He will be joined once more by the talented 21-year-old Japanese rider Kohta Nozane – fresh from his first victory in the JSB1000 class in the All Japan Road Race Championship – for his second year with the team after the young star impressed in his debut season. The 2016 German IDM Superbike Champion, 24-year-old Marvin Fritz, also returns for his second year in the team after some excellent performances during his rookie season in the EWC, as the trio of YART Riders look to build on the pace shown all last season and lift the Endurance World Championship title for the first time since 2009.
The 2017/2018 FIM EWC season consists of five rounds:
Bol d’Or (24h) – 16th/17th September 2017
24 Heures Motos (Le Mans) – 21st/22nd April 2018
8 Hours of Slovakia Ring – 10th/12th May 2018
8 Hours of Oschersleben – 7th/9th June 2018
Suzuka 8 Hours – 27th-29th July 2018
The YART Yamaha Official Yamaha EWC Team kick off their title challenge at the Circuit Paul Ricard for the first round of the season, the 24-hour Bol d’Or, in France on the 16-17th of September.
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team Manager
“We cannot wait for the new season as we are confident that we can continue our form that saw us finish this season so strongly. Our results in 2016-2017 have been very good, but we had quite a lot of bad luck, but finally, we have everything in place for the 2017/2018 season to allow us to fight for the championship. I am delighted to confirm our rider line up for the Bol d’Or. Marvin and Kohta have really proved themselves in their rookie seasons, and having Broc in the team with his experience, knowledge, and pace, brings it all together. We feel we are in a very strong position team-wise and we have been working on the bike to bring it closer the to the Yamaha Factory Racing Team machine to give our riders the best chance possible to become Endurance World Champions.”
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“This season was a learning year for the team, with two new riders in the championship for the very first time and also our first year with Bridgestone tyres. Considering this, we are delighted with how the season went, our overall pace and how the Bridgestone tyres worked. It is incredible to see how well we performed. At most races, we were battling at the front and it was only really some bad luck that prevented us from winning the title, but the good thing is we can be even stronger this season. Kohta and Marvin have four races under their belts now, they have ridden at night and completed a 24-hour race at Le Mans. Even though this will be their first Bol d’Or, the now know what to expect and we have more experience of working together, both of which are vital factors in endurance racing. We have a great relationship together, they are both such huge young talents, it has been brilliant to pass on my experience and knowledge to them, whether it’s in regards to setup, or just how to relax in-between stints. I am 100% confident we can put in a very strong title challenge this season, we just need a bit more luck than last year!”
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“This season has been mine and Kohta’s rookie season and my first-time riding on Bridgestone tyres. Plus, we had to learn most of the tracks and it was also my first-time riding in the dark at Le Mans. Considering all of that, we had an amazing season! We were the fastest team in most of the races, but we just didn’t have any luck. We led at Le Mans, Oschersleben, and Slovakia where we were incredibly unlucky to have the issue with our chain when we had a race-winning lead. I hope that this season we can have a bit more luck. To have Broc and Kohta as teammates again is great. Broc is so strong on the bike and has lots of experience, plus we have very similar riding styles, so our settings are pretty similar on the R1. Kohta is super quick, a MotoGP test rider, and we are all really good friends. We can, of course, improve this year as it is our second season on the Bridgestone tyres and now Kohta and myself know the tracks. We feel a lot stronger and more prepared than last year, so we are ready for the new season.”
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“I’m really happy to once again be able to race with YART full-time for another EWC season. I’d also like to thank Team Manager Mandy Kainz and Yamaha for giving me another great opportunity to race on the world stage. Last season, the environment was entirely new for me and I was riding on circuits I’d never been to before. I also wasn’t able to show what I felt I could do at my home round of the Suzuka 8 Hours and we weren’t able to take the title, so it was a painful reminder of how far I still have to go as a rider. But I’ve been able to take two wins in the All Japan JSB1000 class this season, so it’s undeniable that racing and gaining experience in the EWC has helped me improve. The upcoming 2017-2018 season will be my second time in the championship, so I won’t be able to make any excuses this time. No matter the event or circuit, I want to be fast, race hard for the team and my teammates, and help bring YART the title so I can show everybody how far I’ve grown as a racer.”