EWC: YART fastest in pre-Le Mans 24 Heures test
The Yamaha Austria Racing Team of Max Neukircher, Broc Parkes, Kohta Nozane, and Marvin Fritz have topped the first Endurance World Championship official test of 2017, finishing top of the time sheets after two days of action at Le Mans ahead of the 24 Heures Moto race at the French circuit next month.
The Austrian team, making their debut on Bridgestone after switching from Pirelli to the Japanese brand, came away 0.1 faster than Kawasaki rivals Team SRC, while the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team came home in third only weeks after reigning world champion Anthony Delhalle was killed in a private test.
Speaking after the test, former World Superbike frontrunner Neukircher says that with the successful two days under their belt, they’re now ready to go for the first 24-hour race of 2017 in a few weeks’ time.
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“For us it was the perfect test. We managed to put in a lot of laps, possibly the most of all teams attending. The times we managed to set where fast but Broc was amazing. Considering that it was the first time on track for both Marvin and Kohta, they where only a few tenths slower and fast from the start. We also found a very good suspension setting.
“In combination with the great support from Bridgestone and YEC, we tested a wide variety of compounds and found the best tyre for the race. Not only for the warmer conditions but also in the cold. The team as a whole is really great. We all have the same goals and ambitions, and it feels like a proper family!”
His sentiments were echoed by team boss Mandy Kainz, who says that the pace they ran on only their first test on Bridgestones is encouraging.
“We are very happy with the results of the tests. All four riders have the speed and the consistency. Kohta Nozane and Marvin Fritz are getting to grips with the track lay-out and are doing well but this is a team effort and all riders are contributing to the result these two days. We did not take any risks overall but still the lap-times where incredibly fast, very close to the lap record set by Sheridan Morais last year on our YZF-R1. The support of Bridgestone and the Yamaha engineers is clearly paying off and we are very confident for the 24 Hour Le Mans race.”