YART Yamaha Primed for Podium Battle at Spa-Francorchamps


The Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team head to the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps confident of being able to fight for victory at Round 2 of the FIM Endurance World Championship, the 24H SPA EWC Motos.

The Belgian circuit hosted its first motorcycle race in 1921, and it will present a unique challenge to the YART Yamaha team as the EWC returns to the track for the first time since 2001, reviving the spirit of the iconic 24 Heures de Liège, which was once a mainstay on the calendar. Karel Hanika, Niccolò Canepa, Marvin Fritz and Reserve Rider Robin Mulhauser are excited to get back in action at the track after a successful two-day Pre-Test earlier in May saw the team finish third fastest overall. Fritz and Mulhauser used their prior knowledge of the circuit to help get their teammates – who had not ridden at Spa before – up to speed. They left happy with the setup they found for the YART #7 R1 and Bridgestone tyres around this demanding rollercoaster of a circuit.

The Austrian squad enjoyed a superb start to their 2022 season at the opening round in Le Mans, as they powered to a stunning second-place finish, which means they are currently second overall in the standings with 55 points, eight behind the leaders. There are 65 points up for grabs in a 24-hour race in 2022, with five points awarded for pole position, 40 for the race win, and ten to the leaders at the eight and 16-hour stages. In 2022 there are three 24-hour races, and the importance of finishing the race to gain as many points as possible is not lost on the team, although after their performance in Le Mans, they are optimistic about being able to fight for the podium once more.

The return of the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit to the EWC calendar has seen it undergo some changes to the layout to meet motorcycle racing safety requirements, including expanded run-off areas at several corners, the repositioning of some safety barriers, and a minor realignment of Turn 9. The new endurance-specific layout is 6.985km, making it the longest track on the calendar in 2022. It features a combination of long straights, high-speed sections, and elevation changes that make it one of the world’s most exciting yet challenging circuits.

Team 18 Sapeus Pompiers CMS Motostore are looking to build on their fourth overall at the season’s opening round that saw them take victory in the Dunlop Superstock Trophy and means they currently lead the FIM EWC World Cup with 53 points. The Yamaha Viltais Igol Racing Team are keen to return to action after being forced to retire at Le Mans after battling for the podium for the majority of the race, while the Maco Racing Team are looking to build on their performance in France that saw them finish in 32nd, despite having to compete during the race with just two riders. Trying to bounce back with as strong a result as possible is the aim for the Wojcik Racing Team, Team Moto Ain, and the 3ART Best of Bike squad after they failed to finish the Le Mans 24 Heures Motos.

The track action kicks off at Spa with two private practice sessions on Tuesday the 31st of May, ahead of Free Practice and Qualifying that take place on Thursday the 2nd & Friday the 3rd of June, before the 2022 24H SPA EWC Motos gets underway at 1 pm local time (CEST) on Saturday the 4th of June.

Karel Hanika
Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“I am really looking forward to the race because the track is amazing. I enjoyed riding the circuit at the test, and it suits the R1 perfectly. The Pre-Test went well; we found a good setup and feel confident about the race. We have one more day of private practice to work on a few things before Free Practice kicks off. It will also be interesting to see what riding at night is like at the track, as it gets very dark. It will be a tough race, but I am confident as the team has prepared as well as possible for it. Our target is to fight for the podium.”

Niccolò Canepa
Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“I am really excited because the Spa-Francorchamps circuit is amazing. I loved riding it on the YART R1 at the Pre-Test, and while the race will be tough, we are confident that we can fight for the victory. After our podium at Le Mans, we know that we can battle at the front, and we aim to leave Spa leading the EWC Championship.”

Marvin Fritz
Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“I cannot wait for the race! The Pre-Test went well, we showed a consistent pace, and the bike felt great, so we are confident heading into the race. After Le Mans, we feel confident and motivated to build on this. For the championship, it is key to finish the race in order to get as many points as possible. Of course, we want to win, but with so many points up for grabs at a 24-hour race, it is essential that we finish to put us in a strong position heading to Suzuka. You never know with Spa what the weather will be like; it will probably rain at some point during the race, but the Bridgestone tyres work well in the wet or dry, so we are confident and looking forward to the race.”

Robin Mulhauser
Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team – Reserve Rider
“It is great to be racing at Spa. A new circuit brings many new challenges, but luckily, Marvin and I had ridden here before, and we could help Niccolò and Karel learn the layout. I love the circuit; it is very fast but demanding. We still have a little bit of work to do before the race, but the R1 felt really good at the Pre-Test, so we are confident that once again we can battle for the podium.”

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