Action starts at Estoril
The 12 Hours of Estoril, the second round of the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship, will take place in Portugal on Saturday 17 July. The teams had a day of private testing today to refamiliarize themselves with the circuit near Lisbon.
The weather was sunny with strong gusts of wind, and the riders were keen to prepare to the best of their ability for the first official free practice and qualifying on Thursday. For the 2nd edition of the 12 Hours of Estoril, some teams were able to base themselves on what they learned last year – such as YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team, the 2020 winner, and F.C.C. TSR Honda France, who finished second less than 25 seconds behind the winner. But for other teams, it is their first time at Estoril. This is the case for some ambitious teams who were unlucky at the 24 Heures Motos: Tati Team Beringer Racing in the EWC class and Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore and Team 33 Louit April Moto in Superstock.
For Moto Ain, the winner in the Superstock class at Estoril last year, the move up into EWC means they have had to review the entire setup of their Yamaha R1. The team manager of Moto Ain, Pierre Chapuis, is counting on the expertise of Randy de Puniet to quickly attain a high level of performance. The Frenchman is riding Moto Ain’s Yamaha with Italian rider Roberto Rolfo and Swiss rider Robin Mulhauser.
ERC Endurance-Ducati too were hard at work today. Last year in Portugal, the German team were running their second race with the Panigale V4R. At Estoril today, ERC Endurance-Ducati got support from a Ducati test rider accompanied by Scott Redding’s mechanic in the Superbike world championship. Mathieu Gines, Louis Rossi and Etienne Masson in the saddle of the Ducati #6 will be worth watching on Thursday to see what progress the factory Ducati team have made.
Official free practice starts at 11am local time on Thursday with the first qualifying session to follow at 4pm.