Hats off to the champions!
Hats off to GMT94 Yamaha, winner of the 2016-2017 FIM endurance world championship after the grand finale, the 40th anniversary of the Suzuka 8 Hours – the concluding race of a hotly fought season.
GMT94 Yamaha has once again engraved its name on the roll call of FIM EWC winners. The French team managed by Christophe Guyot had won the world title on two previous occasions, in 2004 and 2014. Their third FIM EWC title is a fitting reward for racing a brilliant season. Riders David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Mike Di Meglio picked up three wins, at the 24 Heures Motos, the 8 Hours of Oschersleben and the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring. An 11th-place finish at the grand finale, the 40th anniversary of the Suzuka 8 Hours, placed the GMT94 Yamaha squad ahead of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and won them the coveted title of 2016-2017 FIM EWC world champion. David Checa and Niccolò Canepa, who also steered GMT94 Yamaha to a 9th-place finish at the Bol d’Or, were jointly declared 2016-2017 FIM EWC world champions. Mike Di Meglio, who joined the team at the 24 Heures Motos, picked up 3rd place in the riders’ championship.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team had led the standings throughout the season after winning the Bol d’Or 2016, but by the time they got to Suzuka, they had a lead of only one point over GMT94 Yamaha. The French factory Suzuki team – 15-time FIM EWC world champions – dropped out of the running for yet another world title when Sodo Hamahara crashed out. This caused the Suzuki #1 to drop back to beyond 30th place, and then a safety car intervention partially stymied Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and their Japanese teammate’s efforts to climb back up. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team finished 18th at Suzuka. The squad and two of its riders, Vincent Philippe and Etienne Masson, were crowned vice-champions of the 2016-2017 FIM EWC team and rider’s championships respectively.
YART Yamaha Official EWC Team finished 5th at the Suzuka 8 Hours and got the 3rd spot of the 2016-2017 FIM EWC. After withdrawing from the Bol d’Or, YART stepped on the podium at the 24 Heures Motos and at Oschersleben. Mandy Kainz’s Austrian factory-backed team (Broc Parkes, Kohta Nozane and Marvin Fritz) went all out to win the world title at Suzuka. But their 5th-place finish wasn’t enough to bridge the points gap separating them from GMT94 Yamaha and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.