Countdown to EWC Suzuka 8 Hours: From low times to high times for YART
Yamalube YART Yamaha Official EWC Team hit back from its 24H SPA EWC Motos heartbreak in style with an impressive performance during testing for next month’s 43rd Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours, round three of the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship.
The Austria-based team completed the two-day test at the famous Japanese venue earlier this month with the second-best time overall of 2m06.662s, which made it the leading regular EWC team in action.
German rider Marvin Fritz, who forms part of the YART EWC team along with Italy’s Niccolò Canepa and Czech Karel Hanika, had the honour of posting the squad’s best effort, which he achieved during the final session of day two after it rained during the opening morning.
“We had a great test,” said Fritz, whose effort was under the lap record of the 5.821-kilometre main Suzuka layout. “We were fast right from the start. The first session was wet, but in the dry second session, on the third lap we were already in the 2m08s, so we knew we had a good pace right from the beginning. We still have some stuff to work on with the bike, but we already have found a good base set-up and our lap times show this.
“During the race week, we will also have our crew chief Andrew Pitt with us; he will certainly help us go even quicker. All of us were fast and had the same pace during our long runs. It is satisfying to finish second overall ahead of some of the factory teams, as most of them have already tested at the circuit this year, and this was the first time we have been here since 2019. We are happy it was a good test, and now we cannot wait for the race.”
Hanika, who has set the pole lap for the opening two events of the EWC season, added: “It was nice to ride again at Suzuka after four years. I had to re-learn the track as it was the first time I had ridden the Yamaha R1 at the circuit, so it was important to work with my team-mates. Our main focus was searching for the best tyres for different parts of the race and qualifying. This went well, and we found some good solutions.
“We still have some work to do with the electronics, but the suspension was excellent. The team did a great job, and we improved session by session. We are ready to fight with the other factories and give it our all.”
The 43rd Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours takes place from 4-7 August and follows on from the 24H SPA EWC Motos in early June, which YART was leading until engine failure put it out on the final morning.