YART Yamaha gets the win in Slovakia
YART Yamaha ran a masterful race and picked up the win at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring, ahead of GMT94 Yamaha and F.C.C. TSR Honda France, which however still leads the FIM EWC standings.
The fight between the two factory Yamahas lasted until the very last minute of the race after nightfall in Slovakia. In the end, YART Yamaha emerged the winner with a less than 32-second lead over GMT94 Yamaha. The Austrian Yamaha, which scored its first points this season, took over the lead 1 hr 30 minutes into the race. Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Max Neukirchner then managed to stay in control of the race despite electronics issues, and hold off GMT94 Yamaha’s David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Mike Di Meglio. Considering the blistering pace set by the two machines in the lead, F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Freddy Foray, Alan Techer and Josh Hook put up a good fight. In fact, Freddy Foray broke the race’s lap record with a time of 2:04.185. F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s 3rd-place finish at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring allows the squad to hold on to top spot in the 2017-2018 FIM EWC provisional standings, though they are now just one point ahead of GMT94 Yamaha.
Another CBR 1000 RR ran a fine race to finish at the foot of the podium. After doing battle in the leading pack for a lengthy spell, Honda Endurance Racing came home ahead of BMW-mounted NRT48’s Kenny Foray, Stefan Kerschbaumer and Peter Hickman and Mercury Racing’s Karel Hanika, Jakub Smrž and Matej Smrž.
Favourites once again beset by problems
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team finished 7th, just behind Mercury Racing, in the aftermath of a troublesome race. After being held up by a stop-and-go penalty because of a missing tyre marking in qualifying yesterday (20 tyre stickers are allocated in the EWC class and 13 in Superstock for an 8-hour race), riders Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black had braking problems similar to the ones they had experienced at Le Mans.
Bolliger Team Switzerland (Roman Stamm, Robin Mulhauser and Sébastien Suchet) finished 8th, ahead of Team SRC Kawasaki’s factory ZX-10R. The Kawasaki #11 had been tipped as a favourite, but after Randy de Puniet crashed out early on in the race, the bike ran out of fuel 5 hours in and lost touch with the 5 teams in the lead.
Upsets in Superstock class too
Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences, the top Superstock, was 10th past the finish line. Axel Maurin, Florian Alt and Vincent Lonbois came in ahead of Atomic 68’s Suzuki, whose riders Clément Stoll, Guillaume Antiga and Stéphane Egéa pulled off their performance despite taking a spill early on in the race. Gert56 took the 3rd spot on the podium as a result of incidents in the final stages of the race affecting two of the main Superstock players. Tati Team Beaujolais Racing dropped back after running out of fuel, but still managed to finish 5th in the Superstock class and thereby conserve its lead in the provisional standings. Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki also got hit by a stroke of fate. An engine failure put paid to their hopes of a podium place just 10 minutes short of the chequered flag.
Moto Ain, another favourite in this category, lost all hope of victory when Roberto Rolfo crashed in the early stages of the race. Moto Ain finished the race 6th in the Superstock class.
The next round of the FIM EWC – the 8 Hours of Oschersleben in Germany on Saturday 9 June – will also be the Superstock final.