KM99 underlines its EWC ambitions with first rider signings
New FIM Endurance World Championship entrant KM99 has underlined its intentions for the upcoming 2023 EWC season by making two ace rider signings.
The Belgian squad, which is manged by Mario Kupper, Gaëtan Schyns and the DG Sport organisation, has recruited Bastien Mackels and Florian Marino to ride its #99 Dunlop-equipped Yamaha, which will compete for Formula EWC honours.
Mackels, a 37-year-old from Belgium, was part of the TATI Team Beringer Racing line-up that formed part of the victory fight in last month’s 100th-anniversary Bol d’Or having recovered from injury earlier in the season. Frenchman Marino, 29, briefly led the inaugural 24H SPA EWC Motos in June before completing the Bol d’Or podium for Webike SRC Kawasaki France.
“For a Walloon-based team, the desire to integrate a good Belgian rider was there from the beginning, but something that is not always easy to bring about,” said KM99 owner Schyns. “And yet, with Bastien, it was obvious. We swapped ideas before and after the Bol d’Or, and the rest followed almost naturally. A rider wants to win races, wants to have good equipment, and in our team’s case, Bastien was fully aware of our investment. He’s a fighter, a warrior who never gives up, and that suits us down to the ground.”
Schyns continued: “As for Florian, he was clearly a first choice for the team. Here we are dealing with a gladiator, and there is a mutual trust between rider and team. This project is built over three years, enough to give the riders full confidence.”
Kupper added: “We have set up a structure that leaves nothing to chance, with mechanics, engineers and suspension specialists emanating from the FIM Superbike World Championship. Aiming for the world crown is a mid-term objective. To achieve this there are many elements to be put in place. For this first year in FIM EWC, I wanted to be able to count on the services of Florian Marino, the team’s top choice. I had the opportunity of working with him two years ago, he is still young, ambitious, fast, and an endearing individual. As for Bastien, he meets a logical choice, seeing the team is Belgian and Walloon, and that the presence of a Belgian rider makes sense. Following discussions with Bastien, we quickly came to an agreement. We had previously worked together back in 2017, which resulted in a world title in Superstock. As with Florian, we have solid links, and it all looks very promising.”