YART Yamaha triumph at Estoril, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team scoop 16th world title
YART Yamaha won the 12 Hours of Estoril, the thrilling season finale of the FIM Endurance World Championship, ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda France and Wójcik Racing Team. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team finished at the foot of the podium in Portugal and claimed the 2019-2020 FIM EWC crown.
YART Yamaha and F.C.C. TSR Honda France battled it out until the last minute of an action-packed race. After a 12-hour thriller, YART Yamaha won the day thanks to riders Karel Hanika, Marvin Fritz and Niccolò Canepa, with a less-than-25-second lead over F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike di Meglio. Their win is equally a victory for Bridgestone, supplier to these two highly competitive teams.
The duel between the two squads raged for the entire second half of the race. While it was smooth sailing for the Japanese Honda team, the Austrian Yamaha team had some issues, from Marvin Fritz’s fluffed start from pole position to two broken footpegs. YART Yamaha were head and shoulders above the others today.
Wójcik Racing Team finished third after Gino Rea, Broc Parkes and Sheridan Morais ran a spectacular race. The Polish independent team crafted their race strategy with a podium in their sights. They pulled it off at Estoril, wrapping up the season in fourth place in the overall standings, sandwiched between the factory teams.
16th world title for Suzuki Endurance Racing Team
Competitive but careful to seal their chance at the world title, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team did battle in the leading trio until twice getting gear selector shaft warning signs. Etienne Masson, Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon were fourth over the finish line at Estoril, thereby clinching Suzuki Endurance Racing Team a 16th FIM EWC title – their first since 2016 and the first-ever for Damien Saulnier, the new team manager of the Suzuki factory team.
Another challenge was pulled off by VRD Igol Pierret Experiences, who were 5th at the finish after a 12-hour battle with the factory teams. In the saddle of the Yamaha 333, Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Nico Terol finished ahead of Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. The Kawasaki team lost out on a podium due to a broken chain. After leading at the start of the race, the factory BMW team powered back up through the field to 7th place overall following a crash.
The top Superstock team, Moto Ain, finished 8th ahead of LRP Poland and 3ART Best of Bike.
Second FIM Superstock World Cup for Moto Ain
Moto Ain ruled the roost in the Superstock class. The French Yamaha team claimed the victory in class ahead of Team Aviobike, Wójcik Racing Team 2, JMA Motos Action Bike and No Limits Motor Team, who fell back after a crash.
Their position as Superstock leader 8 hours into the race at Estoril secured Moto Ain the FIM Endurance World Cup win at that stage. But Roberto Rolfo, Robin Mulhauser and Hugo Clère did not let up their pace as a result. Moto Ain won the FIM World Cup for the second successive season ahead of No Limits Motor Team and GERT56 by GS Yuasa.
Two of the high profile-teams were forced to retire due to crashes: ERC Endurance (Ducati) dropped out in the very first hour while Bolliger Team Switzerland (Kawasaki) retired in the fourth hour. Hanspeter Bolliger was awarded the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy to honour his 38-year passion for endurance racing and the final race of his career at Estoril.
National Motos dropped out of the rankings a little over 6 hours into the race following an engine issue. The privateer Honda fielded by the eponymous Paris dealership had been running a fine race in the Top 15 with only two riders, Stéphane Egea and Guillaume Antiga.