A wide open race at Estoril
YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team dominated qualifying, but the 12 Hours of Estoril promises to be a hotly fought race. The second round of the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship gets underway under sunny skies at 9am local time tomorrow in Portugal.
After withdrawing due to mechanical problems at Le Mans, the factory Yamaha team set the bar high this morning in qualifying, but they face solid competition. BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and Yoshimura SERT Motul will be formidable opponents at Estoril. F.C.C. TSR Honda France are also in the front pack with a chance at the win. The factory Japanese Honda team are highly motivated because they have to win the points they lost out on due to their 9th-place finish at the 24 Heures Motos.
Among the independent teams, Tati Team Beringer Racing made further progress, just ahead of VRD Igol Experiences who lost time in qualifying this morning due to a wrong tyre choice.
ERC Endurance-Ducati and Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar are only 7th and 8th on the starting grid, but both these factory teams have experienced riders capable of seizing every opportunity the race offers to climb onto the podium. The Kawasaki #11 finished 2nd at the 24 Heures Motos last month. For Ducati, a podium would be a first in the FIM EWC.
Exciting show in Superstock
The Superstock fight will also make for an exciting show. Behind the Kawasaki-mounted BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers, six other Superstock teams were within the same second after qualifying: Team 33 Louit April Moto, Wójcik Racing Team 2, National Motos, RAC41 ChromeBurner, Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore and Team Aviobike.
The race could prove difficult for Team Aviobike as Giovanni Baggi, who crashed during the warm-up on Friday afternoon, might not be fit to race.
With one of their riders withdrawing due to an injury, Players are also going into the race with only two riders.
The heat will be an important factor at the 12 Hours of Estoril. It will make tyre choices difficult for the teams and put the engines to the test on a demanding circuit for both the riders and their machines. The forecast calls for sunshine and a temperature of 30° at Estoril.
The teams will be on the track from 8.15am local time tomorrow for a pre-race session which will not be timed. The race will be flagged off at 9am.