Karel Hanika, Niccolò Canepa and Marvin Fritz and the Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team will be looking for success in the third round of the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship this weekend in the iconic 24-hours of Bol d’Or.
Ahead of the penultimate round of the current season, YART and Yamaha Motor Europe can confirm that all three riders will return in an unchanged line-up for the official Yamaha Endurance team for the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship.
Following an unlucky start to the season, the official Yamaha EWC team are eager to turn their fortunes around after a crash from the lead in Estoril pushed the squad back to tenth overall. Despite showing a strong pace in the season opener in Le Mans and again in Portugal, the team’s luck has not been with them – something they hope will be on their side this weekend for the 24-hour event.
Since the last round in Portugal, all three riders have been busy training ahead of the gruelling Bol d’Or; Karel Hanika and Marvin Frtiz both joined the World Superbike paddock at EWC’s newest venue, Most in the Czech Republic, while Niccolò Canepa has been on World Superbike test duty as well as having a successful weekend in the CIV at the Mugello circuit.
Since then, the trio completed a successful pre-event test at Paul Ricard, during which Mandy Kainz’s team focused on fine-tuning the set-up of their R1 ready for a demanding race. All three riders demonstrated a strong pace and are confident of a good result come Sunday.
After being dropped from the calendar in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the historic French venue returns to championship action with the Bol d’Or 24-hour. The Paul Ricard circuit, located in Le Castellet, Var, near Marseille – plays host to the third round of the 2021 season. Inaugurated in 1970, the famous 3.5-mile circuit has hosted a range of motorsport events, including the Motorcycle Grand Prix and Formula One.
1980 saw the first-ever Bol d’Or held at the Paul Ricard circuit and has not seen a Yamaha victorious since Niccolò Canepa helped team-mates David Checa and Mike Di Meglio to victory in 2017. YART were close to victory in 2018, finishing second – and again in 2019 but a crash, caused by no fault of their own – after severe weather disruptions, ended their hopes.
This week’s event also welcomes the long-awaited return of fans who are in for a thrilling battle at the Bol d’Or.
YART Yamaha heads into the next round of the season seventh in the standings while Yamaha leads the constructor’s championship by four points with 80 points total. As always for a 24-hour event, points will be awarded at the eighth and 16th hour with a maximum of 40 points up for grabs at the checkered flag. Five points will also be awarded for the pole sitter, meaning there’s a total of 65 points up for grabs.
The Austrian based team will kick off their 2021 Bol d’Or with Free Practice on Thursday ahead of the opening set of Qualifying sessions that afternoon. Qualifying concludes with three further sessions on Friday morning before the 24-hour event kicks off at 15:00 local time on Saturday 18th June.
Karel Hanika – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“I’m looking forward to getting back to EWC after what has been a difficult time in recent months. It’s true that it’s been a tough start to the year but we’re not backing down, we’ll do everything we can to bring the result we’re looking for, we just need a bit of luck! We have a great package, and we were very fast and consistent throughout the test so I’m looking forward to riding alongside Niccoló and Marvin to bring the team and Yamaha a strong result.
“After such an unlucky season this year, I am happy to be remaining with YART for 2022 as I know that there’s more to come next year because we have a great bike, team and the overall package is incredible. We know that next year will be better than this year, I have another chance alongside Marvin and Niccoló, but we still have two races this season to look forward to and try to get the best results possible.”
Marvin Fritz – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“We had a great Bol d’Or test, and we are really looking forward to the race week. I love this track and all the places around it, but more importantly we’re so happy to finally have the spectators back supporting us. We felt good on our YART R1 and importantly we found a good setup and the Bridgestone tyres worked perfectly. After two disappointments in Le Mans and Estoril, we’re hungry to get back on the podium and fight for the win.
“I’m very happy to sign with the YART family for another year. It’s a good feeling to have the contract completed with two races to go as there’s no pressure to prove myself. I know that I have another chance next year and I can’t wait to ride for this great team again, but for now we’re focussed on this year as if we get two really good results, we can still win the championship.”
Niccolò Canepa – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“I’m really looking forward to the Bol d’Or, it’s been an unlucky season so far, but I think that the Paul Ricard circuit will suit us and our bike. We were really fast in the test there and it gives us confidence for the race. We’re all looking to deliver a good result for the team, so we will try our best to do that and end the 24-hours with a good result.
“We have two rounds left in 2021 so the aim is to finish the season on a high and then I can’t wait to race alongside both Marvin and Karel again in 2022 as they are really fast. I think we are ready to win every race and win the championship, we are the best team in the field and we’re ready to take what we deserve. I’m excited for next season and my motivation is higher than ever.”
Mandy Kainz – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Team Manager
“The Bol d’Or is a big race for us as it’s the only race we’re yet to take victory at, we’ve showed good speed, but we’ve never had the final piece of the puzzle to take the win! We’ve finished on the podium a few times and were so close to the win in 2018 but luck wasn’t with us. The 24-hour races are tough and the Bol d’Or will be no different as the Paul Ricard circuit is very demanding for the bike, riders and Bridgestone tyres – but I’m confident that we have a package that can fight for the victory that we as a team are desperate to achieve.
“I’m very happy to confirm that Niccolò, Karel and Marvin will remain with the team for 2022. We know this line up is fast, we have managed four pole positions in a row, we’ve fought for podiums and claimed race wins. It was important for us to secure the best trio of riders on the Endurance market, and we have, so it’s an exciting line-up for us again next season!”