The GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team brought Yamaha its third victory of the 2016 FIM Endurance World Championship at this weekend's 8 Hours of Oschersleben race to end the season as the Vice-Champions for the second year in succession.
The YART Yamaha Official EWC Team also fought like gladiators at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, but saw their championship challenge diminish when they were forced to retire after six hours due to a minor technical issue. Team 3ART Yam' Avenue delivered a brilliant performance to secure sixth place as the highest ranking SST team, giving Yamaha the FIM EWC World Cup Title.
GMT94 Yamaha's David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Lucas Mahias did exactly what they had to do, having arrived at the final round of the 2016 FIM EWC season 16 points behind the championship leader, with 35 points still up for grabs. Starting from second, Checa rode a cautious first lap, entering the first corner in fifth position. However, as soon as the tyres were warmed the Spaniard's confidence grew and it wasn't long before the French team cheered on their No. 94 bike at the front of the field.
Second rider Canepa had never been to the Oscherleben Arena before this weekend, but the track clearly started to grow on him as the week went on. Though he suffered from a lack of grip when the track temperature rose to 52 degrees Celsius on his first stint and he had to let the YART team pass, he still managed the gap to make sure the team could come back strong when the temperatures would drop in the later stages of the race.
Third rider Mahias was not only fighting for the team title but also for the rider title. He showed great spirit during his first stint as, despite feeling the pressure to perform, he pushed out steady laps. He made one of the highlights of today's race when multiple riders crashed in the triple left hander and he pulled off an amazing save, avoiding all riders, bikes and mechanics, at high-speed off-track, thanks to his off-road skills.
After getting away with the incident, it was plain sailing for the GMT94 team, who continued to pick up the pace towards the end of the race as Canepa predicted. They kept their heads down and, with their pit stop strategy planned to perfection, Checa rode a brilliant night session to take a glorious win by 21.315s and secure second in the championship.
First YART rider Broc Parkes, started from pole and came out of the first corner in third place. As the GMT94 team started to pick up the pace, the Australian wasn't shy to follow and rode a strong stint before handing over the bike to second rider Marvin Fritz. The young German has a great love for the YZF-R1 machine and let it show. His riding did most of the talking. Being the only rider on track dropping consistent high 1'27 and low 1'28 laps, he was quick to take the lead in the race and pull away from his chasing rivals.
The pair of them rode the entire race, with third rider Sheridan Morais supporting them and waiting on the sideline in case either Parkes or Fritz would be unable to continue, which was ultimately not necessary.
YART rode on the limit for six hours straight without any mistakes, but their efforts ended early after the sixth hour. Despite their great pace they suffered a technical issue, which ended their challenge for the title.
Today's results see GMT94 Yamaha take home 35 points and finish the season in second place with 87 points in total, just one point behind the championship winners. YART holds sixth place in the standings with a total of 60 points.
Thanks to GMT94 incredible achievement over the last three races, Mahias secured the 2016 Endurance Rider World Champion title, while Yamaha also secured the manufacturers' title.
Team 3ART YAM' Avenue also added the Superstock title, thanks to an incredible performance that saw Louis Bulle, Alex Plancassagne and Lukas Trautmann ride a faultless race from start to finish to earned them 16 points and claim the FIM EWC World Cup Title.
FIM Endurance World Championship standing
1. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, 88
2. GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team, 87
3. Team April Moto Motors Events, 78
4. Honda Endurance Racing, 72
5. SRC Kawasaki, 60
6. YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, 60
7. F.C.C. TSR Honda, 56
8. TEAM 3ART YAM'AVENUE, 50
9. Team R2CL, 45
10. AM Moto Racing Competition, 38