FIM EWC battle lines redrawn
There are only another 50 days to go to the 43rd edition of the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans. The 3rd round of the 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship on 18 and 19 April will see several new line-ups on the track, and the 2020 versions of the competing bikes.
Some of the top teams have rejigged their line-ups for 2020. This coming April will witness an amped-up 24 Heures Motos on the Bugatti circuit, with several of the front-runners fielding new three-rider line-ups.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who top the provisional standings, will have Belgian rider Xavier Simeon partnering Gregg Black and Etienne Masson for the first time. Following Xavier Simeon’s departure, VRD Igol Pierret Experiences have recruited Frenchman Mathieu Gines as well as Spanish rider Nicolás Terol, the 2011 125cc world champion.
YART Yamaha, the winners of the 8 Hours of Sepang, have hired the 24-year-old Czech rider Karel Hanika to partner Italian rider Niccolò Canepa and German rider Marvin Fritz. The Austrian team’s former contracted rider, Australia’s Broc Parkes, will be shoring up Wójcik Racing Team, the squad that shone at the Bol d’Or. Broc Parkes will share stints on the Yamaha of this Polish team to watch with British rider Gino Rea and Frenchman Axel Maurin.
The loss of Karel Hanika has led Maco Racing to recruit the 22-year-old British rider Stefan Hill, who will team up with his compatriot James Ellison and Frenchman Enzo Boulom.
Another noteworthy change is Swiss rider Sébastien Suchet’s switch to Tati Team Beaujolais Racing alongside French riders Alan Techer and Julien Enjolras. As a result, Bolliger Team Switzerland have reworked their line-up, which now features Roman Stamm, Nigel Walraven and Jan Bühn.
Some of the favourites have opted to keep things unchanged – among them reigning champions Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar, who also won the 2019 24 Heures Motos. The Kawasaki #1 will be ridden by the usual line-up comprising Jérémy Guarnoni, Erwan Nigon and David Checa.
The new factory squad BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team – podium finishers in this season’s first two races – will have Kenny Foray, Ilya Mykhalchyk and Markus Reiterberger in the saddle.
New machines on the track
F.C.C. TSR Honda France have also confirmed their previous line-up comprising Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike di Meglio. The major change for the Japanese team is the keenly-awaited track debut of a new and promising CBR 1000 RR 2020.
Following winter tests in Spain, YART Yamaha are also very satisfied with the performance of the 2020 version of the YZF-R1.
After its maiden outing at the 8 Hours of Sepang in December, Team ERC Endurance’s Ducati Panigale V4R will truly be put to the test at the 24 Heures Motos. The Ducati-backed German team will be in the spotlight at Le Mans. The Ducati #6 has been entrusted to Louis Rossi, Julien da Costa and Ondřej Ježek.
Before locking horns at the 24 Heures Motos on 18 and 19 April, the teams will be back on the track for a preliminary face-off during the pre-race tests on the Bugatti circuit on 31 March and 1 April.