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Manuel Poggiali at the 24 Heures Motos

Manuel Poggiali at the 24 Heures Motos

06/02/2018 15:41

Manuel Poggiali’s return to racing in the FIM EWC championship has caused a stir in endurance circles. The double GP champion – in the 125 and 250 classes – has announced he is joining Special Team Ducati to race the 24 Heures Motos.

Endurance is attracting an increasing number of Moto GP riders. The latest name on the list is Manuel Poggiali, who will be making his return to racing at the 24 Heures Motos. A few days short of his 35th birthday, the San Marino rider, who has two Moto GP world titles to his credit (in the 125 class in 2001 and the 250 class in 2003), has announced he will be on the starting grid of the 24 Heures Motos, the second round of the 2017-2018 FIM EWC, at Le Mans on 21 and 22 April.

Poggiali will join private Italian squad Special Team Ducati by Z Racing, which is entering a Panigale R with riders Fabio Massei, Lionel Ancelin and Jacopo Zizza.

Poggiali told Alessio Piana of Italian website Corsedimoto that returning to racing in endurance feels like being reborn. “This is something I’ve been wanting to try, he said. I’ve always found endurance to be inspiring, even more so in recent times with Italian riders getting such good results. It’s a fast-growing sport, with ever-increasing audiences and visibility: all the more reason to go for it!
There are three reasons in particular I’m drawn to endurance. First of all, riding at night. I’ve already done it, in Qatar [Ed: during the 2008 season, in the 250cc class], but we were racing in a much warmer climate, with the track lit up as bright as day. At Le Mans it’ll be totally different – when night falls, it really will be night! I’m hoping for good weather conditions so I can get acclimatized to racing at night, because there won’t be much testing before the race to help me prepare. It’ll be interesting to learn how to handle a 24-hour race and manage the stints smoothly. There won’t be much time to recover between stints, and that’s something new for me. Last but not least, I’m keen to find the right set-up for the bike with the other two riders on the team.”

Italian team No Limits Motor Team has strengthened its rider line-up to take another shot at the Superstock podium. Michael Mazzina, Luca Scassa and Christian Gamarino will be riding the Suzuki #44.

The Endurance world championship is spreading its wings in Italy. FIM EWC promoter Eurosport Events has just signed a broadcast rights agreement with Corsedimoto.com and AutomotoTV.

Last season’s FIM EWC Superstock World Cup winner Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences will be fielding a new team at the 24 Heures Motos.

Moto Ain CRT has put together a strong rider line-up to go after the 2017 FIM EWC Superstock World Cup. Roberto Rolfo, a former 250cc GP runner-up, will shore up Alexis Masbou and Christoffer Bergman on the Yamaha #96.

F.C.C. TSR Honda France is hard at work preparing for the 24 Heures Motos. The Japanese team completed a test on the Okayama circuit, and used the opportunity to show off the new livery of the Honda CBR 1000 RR 2018.

Yamaha Factory has presented its 2018 teams. While GMT94 Yamaha will continue the season with the squad that won the Bol d’Or, YART Yamaha has announced a fresh rider line-up starting from the 24 Heures Motos.