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Masson: Perfect team spirit will increase EWC title chances

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Masson: Perfect team spirit will increase EWC title chancesMasson: Perfect team spirit will increase EWC title chances

08 January 2024

Yoshimura SERT Motul’s pursuit of the 2024 FIM Endurance World Championship will be strengthened by the Suzuki-powered squad’s ‘perfect team spirit’ when it begins in April with the 24 Heures Motos.

That’s the view of rider Étienne Masson, who joined the Yoshimura SERT Motul line-up in 2023 and helped then team-mates Gregg Black and Sylvain Guintoli claim second place in the final standings after winning the season-deciding Bol d’Or.

“The team spirit is perfect,” 35-year-old Masson said. “This is endurance and we all know anything can, and will, happen before you cross the finish line. We finished as runner-up and now we will all look forward to 2024 where we will be pushing for the top step of the podium.”

Masson was a Suzuki Endurance Racing Team rider when he partnered Black to the 2019/20 FIM Endurance World Championship crown – his third EWC title success.

“I’ve ridden with SERT many times and we’ve enjoyed good success,” Masson said. “It was a little different returning to the team at the beginning of 2023 as things had changed, and obviously the Yoshimura crew are now a big part of the set-up. However, there was no concern as they know the bike perfectly and they improved it a lot in three years.

“I found the character of the Suzuki GSX-R1000R was still the same, but some detailed changes made a real difference to the performance. The switch to Bridgestone tyres was so good too. My first test in Jerez in March was a good memory, mainly because I had a good feeling with the Bridgestone and lap after lap, I was really, really happy on the bike.

“Being back in the team with Gregg was great. I’ve known him for more than 10 years, not just as a simple team-mate, but as a friend. We have shared a lot of emotions – both positive and negative.”

Looking back on the four-event 2023 EWC season, Masson said:Le Mans was not the start I was hoping for with my first race back in the team, but we stayed focused and our objective was just one thing: to save as many points as possible. The main positive we took away from the first round was that we were the fastest on track.

“At Spa we were again really fast, but after some issues we finished fourth. However, we also moved up from seventh in the championship to fourth.

“The result at Suzuka was a hard one to accept as second place was secured but, when the rain fell, we made a mistake. We still finished fourth but should have been on the podium.

“Then it was the Bol d’Or and the end of the race season – we had no choice except to push to the maximum. The bike was perfect, the team made perfect pit stops and we didn’t have a problem. Sadly, Sylvain was sick at around 6am and that ruled him out for the rest of the race so we won the race with just two riders. It was really cool that I got to share that victory with Gregg, and it was a good gift for one of the team’s longest serving crew members ‘Petit Paulo’ as it was his last race with us.”

Masson was looking back on the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship for Yoshimura SERT Motul. The full interview is available by clicking HERE.

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11 April 2024

Team Aviobike makes Aprilia EWC move with World Cup winner Calia

Team Aviobike will bring the Aprilia name back to the FIM Endurance World Championship in 2024 when it unleashes an RSV4 1100 on the series.Giovanni Baggi’s Italy-based squad, which previously raced Yamaha motorcycles in the EWC, has formed technical alliances with Nuova M2 and Revo Racing Project to run an Aprilia in the Superstock-based FIM Endurance World Cup, which uses tyres from exclusive supplier Dunlop.As well as counting on Italian technology, Team Aviobike’s four riders for 2024 – Luca Bernardi, Kevin Calia, Samuele Cavalieri and Francesco Cocco – are all from Italy.While Bernardi and Cavalieri are EWC newcomers, Cocco has one EWC start to his name from 2021 when he contested but was unable to finish the 12 Hours of Estoril in Portugal. However, in Calia, Team Aviobike has secured the services of a rider with considerable EWC experience and pedigree after he formed part of the Team 33 Louit April Moto line-up that claimed last season’s FIM Endurance World Cup. 

11 April 2024

EWC season-deciding Bol d’Or chosen to host Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale

In an exciting move, the FIM Endurance World Championship will welcome a new guest race at the Bol d’Or season showdown in September.For the first time, the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale will take place as part of an EWC race weekend with a 20-minute winner-takes-all contest scheduled at 12h30 CET on 14 September ahead of the Bol d’Or getting under way at 15h00.After the first two editions of the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale, in 2022 and 2023, were run alongside the FIM Superbike World Championship, Yamaha Racing’s decision to join forces with EWC promoter Warner Bros. Discovery Sports is a significant development.Not only does it underline the growing appeal of the EWC to motorcycle manufacturers, scheduling the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale during the Bol d’Or weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard gives its riders the opportunity to experience an EWC event and benefit from the promotional and organisational excellence on offer. With the EWC the recognised Home of Endurance Racing where every moment is unmissable, it’s also a chance for the riders to showcase their skills in front of EWC team managers.With 83,000 fans in attendance during last September’s Bol d’Or, there will be no shortage of support for the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale contenders. This will include words of encouragement from Niccolò Canepa, Marvin Fritz and Karel Hanika, who clinched the FIM Endurance World Championship for Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC Official Team when the 86th running of the Bol d’Or decided the all-action 2023 EWC season. The trio will offer insights into the secrets of a fast lap around Circuit Paul Ricard during a question and answer session with the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale riders.Approximately 30 riders competing in national-level Yamaha Cups and Challenges will be invited to take part in the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale. Following Free Practice and Qualifying, the first of two races will take place on Friday 13 September ahead of the deciding event on Saturday 14 September shortly before the EWC riders take to the track for the Bol d’Or.On offer to the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale winner is a brand new R7, the latest in Yamaha’s R-series range of bikes, that combines the perfect blend of agile handling and sports performance with everyday fun, according to the manufacturer. The second and third-placed riders will win vouchers for GYTR performance parts that can be redeemed from their local Yamaha GYTR PRO shop. Video highlights will be available on the Yamaha Racing YouTube channel. Updates will be published on the Yamaha Racing social media channels and website.The R7 SuperFinale riders will be offered full support at the event, where they will be located in the dedicated R7 SuperFinale Village situated inside the EWC paddock. After the mandatory briefings, the riders will join bLU cRU Rider Coach Lorenzo Alfonsi for a guided tour of the Le Castellet track. Alfonsi will provide advice to help them with line choice and correct gear selection.Jean-Baptiste Ley, Head of Motorsport at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, said: “It’s fantastic that at an event where Yamaha Racing achieved such a momentous title in 2023 will host the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale 12 months later. In our 10th season as EWC promoter, we are very excited to welcome the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale family to the Bol d’Or, an event as famous as it is prestigious. The fact that Yamaha Racing has chosen the Bol d’Or as the venue of this highly significant competition speaks volumes about the strength and appeal of the EWC to manufacturers. We look forward to providing a fitting platform for the Yamaha R7 European SuperFinale and hope for memorable and successful weekend for all competitors.”Paolo Pavesio, Marketing and Motorsport Director, Yamaha Motor Europe, said: “We are delighted to announce that the R7 European SuperFinale will form a part of the FIM EWC final round of the 2024 season and run alongside the historic Bol d’Or. It will create an incredible atmosphere for the SuperFinale participants. Before they take to the track, they will get the opportunity to meet the riders of the Yamalube YART Yamaha EWC team, the reigning Endurance world champions, offering them an excellent opportunity to learn from the very best and get advice on tackling the iconic Circuit Paul Ricard and its infamous Mistral Straight. Plus, over 80,000 people attended the race in 2023, so the competitors will also get to experience the atmosphere and excitement of racing in front of packed stands full of passionate fans to create what will surely be some very special memories.”The Bol d’Or is organised at Circuit Paul Ricard in France by the Association of France Moto-Cyclecariste, Moto Revue and AMCF Sport. Promoted by Larivière Organisation, it is run under the auspices of Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, Moto Fédératíon Française, and the leagues of Motorcyclists Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Ile de France. 

10 April 2024

Delbianco’s Pit-Lane Endurance EWC ride to realise “big dream”

Former World Superbike rider Alessandro Delbianco’s inclusion in Pit-Lane Endurance’s tweaked EWC rider line-up for the 2024 season is the realisation of a “big dream”, according to the Italian star.Delbianco has been named as a late replacement for Chilean Maximilian Scheib at the Yamaha-powered FIM Endurance World Cup team. He will link up with Finn Eemeli Lahti, Frenchman Enzo Boulom and Belgian Luca De Vleeschauwer, starting with next week’s 24 Heures Motos in Le Mans, France.“The EWC is my big dream because I’m very passionate about endurance racing,” 26-year-old Delbianco said. “This year I will make a full season with Pit-Lane Endurance, I make a wildcard in the Bol d’Or last year [with OG Motorsport World Endurance Team] and make a very good result, taking pole position in my group. We battled for the podium all the race but then we broke the engine in the morning but this is endurance.”While the Bol d’Or at Circuit Paul Ricard gave Delbianco a taste of the EWC and the challenge the riders face, the upcoming 24 Heures Motos will provide his first experience of Circuit Bugatti in racing conditions.“The track is amazing but maybe the weather is not our friend in these days,” Delbianco said. “But it’s okay, maybe it’s a very difficult for a 24-hour race but we try.  “The Bol d’Or in the night was amazing and this place [Le Mans] with all the people will be another amazing experience.“For sure we ride for making a podium because we are a good team with very good riders. We are all fast riders so why not?” Photo: Facebook.com/aledelbianco52

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