2016-04-22T00:00:00+02:00April 22nd, 2016|12 Hours of Portimão 2016|

After withdrawing from the 24 Heures Motos following Louis Rossi’s three crashes, GMT94 Yamaha have recruited Lucas Mahias to ride for them, starting from the 12 Hours of Portimão in Portugal on Saturday 11 June.

GMT94 Yamaha and Louis Rossi have decided by mutual agreement to part ways at the FIM EWC championship. After crashing thrice during the 24 Heures Motos, the French Moto2 rider has stepped down and relinquished his place in the saddle to Lucas Mahias. The 27-year-old Frenchman will now be the factory-backed team’s third rider, alongside Spaniard David Checa, a mainstay of the team since 2003, and Italian rider Niccolò Canepa, fresh from the FIM Superbike World Championship. Lucas Mahias finished 4th at the recently-concluded 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans with the Team R2CL, and regularly got himself noticed at last season’s Supersport World Championship. He is familiar with the GMT94 Yamaha, having been a stand-in on the Yamaha 94 at the 24 Heures Motos and the Bol d’Or in 2014.

“We all got it a bit wrong, Louis and us,” explains William Costes, GMT94 Yamaha’s sport director. “Louis wasn’t psychologically prepared for endurance racing. A good endurance rider has to have a fine ear for the tyres, the bike and the track in changing race conditions. Louis still has a speed championship mindset, where you have to go fast at all costs. At Le Mans, the brief was simple: make as few mistakes as possible, and make it to the finish. Louis was under a lot of pressure at Le Mans. He was undoubtedly trying too hard, wanting to prove that, coming from the GP, he could adapt to the endurance bike very quickly. Niccolò Canepa adapted very well, but Louis didn’t manage it. Maybe I didn’t guide him properly.”

GMT94 Yamaha have just signed up Lucas Mahias, a fast rider who has already ridden with Christophe Guyot’s team. “Initially Lucas couldn’t ride for us this season because he was supposed to be in the Supersport World Championship,” says Christophe Guyot, team manager of GMT94 Yamaha. “But many teams have been keeping a very close eye on him. Lucas is a quick rider who knows and loves endurance racing, as he has just proved at Le Mans. Over the past few months, Lucas has done what it takes to be a factory rider. He adapts to everything, and he’s very motivated.”

The new GMT94 Yamaha team will be back on the track at the 12 Hours of Portimão in Portugal, where official free practice starts on Thursday 9 June.