Fritz sorry for late podium loss in EWC Suzuka 8 Hours
Marvin Fritz apologised to YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC after his rare mistake cost the Yamalube-backed squad a seemingly certain podium finish in the 43rd Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race, round three of the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship.
Along with team-mates Niccolò Canepa and Karel Hanika, Fritz had fought back into podium contention after an issue at the start of Sunday’s race left the #7 Yamaha YZF-R1 down in P25 on the opening lap.
Following a minor tyre problem, which cost a little more than 30 seconds – and the runner-up spot to the Kawasaki Racing Team Suzuka 8H – when Canepa handed over to Fritz during the YART team’s seventh pit stop, third place was heading the way of the Austrian team until Fritz collided with the #74 Akeno Speed.Yamaha entry while lapping the superstock-specification machine at Turn 13.
Both riders were uninjured, but the YART team suffered a nine-minute delay while its mechanics rushed to repair significant damage. After serving a subsequent stop-and-go penalty for the collision, Hanika eventually made it to the finish in seventh place, which means YART will still be in world title contention when the 100th-anniversary Bol d’Or hosts the EWC season decider from 14-17 September.
“I want to say sorry to the whole team and everyone from Yamaha,” said the usually faultless Fritz. “The podium was in touching distance, but with less than an hour to go, I went to overtake a backmarker and crashed. I was not even pushing that hard at the time; I was just focusing on my rhythm. I went to make the pass up the inside at Turn 13 as he left a gap, but then he moved back across the track, and we were both on the same racing line. We made contact and went down. The bike was damaged a lot, but the team did amazingly to repair the bike in under 10 minutes. I am just sorry for the team, as we worked hard all week, and everyone deserved the podium. We were fast in every session, and it hurts to finish like this. I know our time will come, and we are already looking to the Bol d’Or.”