Superstock in the limelight
With less than 40 days to go until the 24 Heures Motos, excitement in the Superstock class has reached fever pitch. Performance levels in this category – open to bikes that are very close to standard – have got better and better, and the battle for the Superstock win gets more heated with every race. The competition for FIM EWC World Cup has been thrown wide open.
Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences beat Moto Ain CRT to the FIM Superstock World Cup last year by a single point after the highly eventful first edition of the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring. After being forced to withdraw at the Bol d’Or, the opening round of the 2017-2018 FIM EWC, both squads will be gunning for a win at the 24 Heures Motos on 22 April. Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences has switched from Michelin to Dunlop, and will be fielding Axel Maurin, Florian Alt, Vincent Lonbois and Johan Nigon. Meanwhile, Moto Ain CRT is back with a reinforced line-up comprising Roberto Rolfo, a mainstay of the GP250 in the 2000s, Alexis Masbou and Christoffer Bergman.
Kawasaki-mounted Tati Team Beaujolais Racing is also in the reckoning. After finishing third in last season’s FIM Superstock and winning the Bol d’Or last September, the team is continuing its podium quest with riders Julien Enjolras, Julien Pilot and Kevin Denis.
They will have to defend their podium spot against an increasing number of contenders. Team 33 Accessoires Louit Moto, the runner-up at the Bol d’Or, has roped in Kevin Manfredi to shore up Corentin Perolari and Chris Leesch. And Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki, which took the third step of the Superstock podium at the Bol d’Or, will equally be trying to clinch the World Cup, with its own rider line-up: Louis Rossi, Hugo Clère, Alex Sarrabayrouse and Eddy Dupuy.
Sarazin Motorsport and two Italian squads, No Limits Motor Team and Aviobike, also made a noteworthy entry into the Top 15 at the finish of the Bol d’Or 2017.
The list of teams preparing to change their luck includes ambitious but unfortunate competitors at last September’s race: such as RAC41 Honda, forced to withdraw after a crash, and AM Moto Racing Compétition and Atomic Motosport, both victims of an engine breakdown.
Last but not least, in the Superstock class all eyes will be on Special Team Ducati Z Racing, whose latest recruit, two-time world champion Manuel Poggiali (GP 125 and 250), will be making his endurance debut at the upcoming FIM EWC race.