Endurance action heating up
Teams have stepped up rider training to sharpen their competitive edge as winter tests continue. Expect some thrilling moments and a hard-fought contest this April at the 24 Heures Motos, the second round of the 2017-2018 FIM EWC.
The 2017-2018 FIM EWC season got underway with the Bol d’Or last September. Reigning FIM EWC champion GMT94 Yamaha won that race. David Checa, Mike Di Meglio and Niccolò Canepa will once again be the favourites at the 24 Heures Motos this April, but their rivals too are gearing up for the rest of the season.
Even as Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, YART Yamaha, Honda Endurance Racing and F.C.C. TSR Honda France fine-tune the performance of their regular line-ups, other squads have ramped up their ambitions, hiring new riders and beefing up their training programmes. Such as Team SRC Kawasaki, who have now announced they will be racing the entire season to chase their goal of a world title. The French factory-backed team managed by Gilles Stafler has put together a new line-up comprising Randy de Puniet, Mathieu Gines, Jérémy Guarnoni and Morgan Berchet.
Team Bolliger Switzerland (Kawasaki) has also brought in new blood. Robin Mulhauser, Sébastien Suchet and Roman Stamm now comprise the all-Swiss team. After making its mark in Endurance for close to 25 years, the private team is poised to give the factory squads a run for their money.
AMSS TRB ViDra Team Serbia has made changes too. The YART Yamaha-backed team has unveiled a new line-up for the 24 Heures Motos: Sheridan Morais, Marko Jerman, Brandon Cretu and Dalibor Miletic.
Team April Moto Motors Events returns to the Suzuki fold
Team April Moto Motors Events has confirmed it is fielding its usual trio of riders: Mathieu Lagrive, Baptiste Guittet and Grégory Fastré. But after racing for a year on a Honda, the team is returning to the fray on a Suzuki. Team April Moto Motors Events won the FIM Superstock World Cup twice, in 2011 and 2013, and third place in the 2016 FIM EWC championship, on a Suzuki.
Fresh developments in the Superstock class
Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki, the third Superstock past the finish line at the Bol d’Or after Tati Team Beaujolais Racing and Team 33 Accessoires Louit Moto, will be fielding an all-new team at the 24 Heures Motos in Le Mans – by all accounts a highly competitive line-up. Louis Rossi, Hugo Clere and Alex Sarrabayrouse will be riding the Suzuki #72. If they manage a podium finish at 24 Heures Motos, Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki will likely enter the two remaining races of the Superstock season, the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring and the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, to continue its pursuit of the FIM Superstock World Cup.