Reigning World Champion’s GMT94 Yamaha clinched fifth today in the challenging Le Mans 24H hours Moto, the opening round of 2015 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC).

 

GMT94 Yamaha’s performance at the famous 24 Heures Motos du Mans, underlined the notion that consistency in riding and camaraderie between teammates are key elements for endurance racing.

 

David Checa was originally scheduled to take part in the traditional starting procedure of riders sprinting over the starting grid to get to their bikes. However, having sustained a leg injury in a crash on Tuesday, he was unable to run and had teammate Kenny Foray take his place.

 

Not being used to opening the racing action, the Frenchman took some laps to get a feel for the Circuit Bugatti - Le Mans track, but soon found his rhythm. Showing his determination, Foray rode from 24th to 11th in the rankings before handing the number 94 YZF-R1 over to Mathieu Gines, who was followed by Checa.

 

Thanks to consistent and smart riding, the GMT94 team enjoyed a strong first part of the race. They climbed up to third place in the time sheets before the eight-hour mark, granting them their first eight points of the championship.

 

However, as the race progressed it became clear that Checa’s injury was too serious for him to complete all his planned stints and it was soon decided that his teammates would ride double stints during the night to reduce his exertion.

 

After having completed 16 hours of non-stop racing, the amicable solidarity of the GMT94 team was rewarded with another four points as they held seventh place.

 

Though exhaustion took a toll on Foray and Gines as daylight broke, they still managed to finish the first race of the season in fifth place. This result brings their points total up to 33, allowing them to take fifth position in the overall championship standings.

 

The Monster Energy Yamaha YART team also displayed the incredible potential that the YZF-R1 has for the endurance class, the team were contenders for the victory over the first half of the race, but were later forced to retire due to a technical issue.

 

Max Neukirchner was the first rider of the Austrian team to take to the track and wasted no time joining a leading group of four and taking off with them at the front. It wasn’t long before the German took over the third spot, which he held until he handed the YZF-R1 over to the second rider Ivan Silva.

 

Similar to his teammate, the Spanish rider showed his eagerness to arrive at the front. Silva momentarily led the race, before he came back to the pits to switch places with third rider – and, as of this week, new Endurance Le Mans lap record holder - Sheridan Morais.

 

The YART team set the pace over the first eight hours, with a 1’38.381 fastest race lap. Riding in second place earned them nine points and as they started the 13th hour they were closing in on the frontrunner. It seemed that the team, led by Mandy Kainz, was set to compete for victory, but after 13h46 the team had to withdraw from the race due to a technical issue..

 

Despite this misfortune the team still picked up nine valuable point and data. They now hold 15th place in the championship standings and look forward to come back with an even stronger package at the next race in Suzuka, Japan, 25th and 26th of July.

 

 

David Checa

GMT94 Yamaha rider

 

"It was a tough weekend for me, because I had the crash on Tuesday. I’m really grateful for my teammates, because they did a really good job. The podium was an option, but unfortunately we couldn’t make it happen. The next race, the bike will be even better and maybe then we can aim for the win."

 

Kenny Foray

GMT94 Yamaha rider

"It was a very special weekend. It wasn’t great timing for David to get injured because to end the race with just two riders is too difficult. But that’s what endurance is like. I’m a little disappointed for the team, because they have been working hard all winter and in the end there was no podium to repay them. Maybe next time we can win, the championship is long."

 

Mathieu Gines

GMT94 Yamaha rider

"It was difficult, because we were racing with only two and a half riders, because David is injured and couldn’t ride as much. Kenny and I pushed extra. Normally we could have finished higher, but we had some small problems. I am happy about finishing the first race and taking points for the championship. I think it will be good for the next race."

 

Christophe Guyot - GMT94 Yamaha Team Manager

"This first weekend was really good for the bike. We were very good overall, but had some small issues. Of course David wasn’t in top condition, because of his crash and that was a problem too. We have to look at the positive things in this race; we finished fifth and now we hold fifth place overall in the championship. The chassis and the engine of the YZF-R1 are great so we look forward to the next race."

 

Max Neukirchner

Monster Energy Yamaha YART rider

"We had some technical problems and were not able to finish the race. For us this was very unfortunate, because on track we were the fastest. But that’s racing in a 24 hour race; sometimes you’re lucky and sometimes you not. We’re looking forward to the next race, because we know that we have a very strong team and the bike is great, so we’ll see what happens."

 

Ivan Silva

Monster Energy Yamaha YART rider

"It's a pity, because I felt very good with the bike and tyres, but in races with such a high level as this one, everything is possible. We hope to have better luck in the next race. I want to thank the team and the fans that came to support us for everything."

 

Sheridan Morais

Sheridan Morais

Monster Energy Yamaha YART rider

"It’s been really great. The team did a lot of hard work, which allowed us to set really fast lap times and have good stints. This weekend we were the team to beat and that’s very impressive for a first weekend. I think we have a big future with this bike and with the team."

 

Mandy Kainz - Monster Energy Yamaha YART Team Manager

"The weekend ended quite harshly as we had to retire because of a technical issue. It’s probably just a small thing, but we couldn’t finish the race because of it. All in all the upside from this weekend is that we can see that we were very competitive and were competing for victory. Let’s get ready for the next race."

 

Eric De Seynes - Operational Director Yamaha Motor Europe

"First of all the bike is definitely well made. We have demonstrated that the bike was the fastest during practice and all through the first part of the race. Immediately YART was able to compete at the front. I discussed with Mandy and all the riders that we would keep a minimum of one second in our hands, so that we’d be sure. We didn’t want to risk a crash and even with this mentality we were fighting for the lead from second position. GMT did a very good job, because from the beginning the setting of the bike was really for endurance and the rhythm of the team was good enough to be in the top 4- 5. So a very steady race. All the issues we encountered with the bike were minor things but it cost us the podium. The endurance championship has two types of races. 8 hours and 24 hours. We knew that starting the season with a 24 hour race would be tougher, but if you realize that, after 8 hours we were in second and fourth position, then that’s a great result for a new bike entering the World Endurance Championship. We can be very proud of the results. It’s like when a new baby takes it’s first steps. We fished fifth and are fourth in the Championship standing overall. We got the points, we got the position and we learned a lot. We have to thank the engineers who developed the bike. The championship is very mature and being on that level of performance in the first race is very promising. We are very optimistic and trust in the future wins of the bike. All the teams and riders are very happy with the bike and feel very confident racing it. We have to work, fight and win."

 

Classification World Championship

 

Points Total

1. SUZUKI ENDURANCE RACING TEAM - Suzuki GSXR 1000 - 60pt

2. TEAM BOLLIGER SWITZERLAND - Kawasaki ZX 10R - 42pt

3. SRC KAWASAKI - Kawasaki ZX 10R - 41pt

4. JUNIOR TEAM LE MANS SUD SUZUKI - Suzuki GSXR 1000 - 34pt

5. GMT94 YAMAHA - Yamaha YZF-R1 - 33pt

6. TEAM TRAQUEUR LOUIT MOTO 33 - Kawasaki ZX 10R - 29pt

7. BMW MOTORRAD France TEAM PENZÖ - BMW S 1000RR - 22pt

8. NATIONAL MOTOS DEBISE - Honda CBR1000 RRSP - 22pt

9. TATI TEAM BEAUJOLAIS RACING - Kawasaki ZX 10R - 17pt

10. AM MOTO RACING COMPETITION - Suzuki GSXR 1000 - 13pt

15. MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA YART - - Yamaha YZF-R1 - 9pt

 

Credits yamaha-racing.com

 

 

 

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