2021 FIM Endurance World Championship
12 Hours of Estoril
Round 2 of the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship will kick off on Saturday as the 12 Hours of Estoril kicks into action. With the Le Mans opener proving an edge of seat affair, the 12 Hours of Estoril is expected to take things up a notch.
Located near Lisbon, Estoril is one of the most technical tracks on the EWC calendar. Inaugurated in 1972, it has hosted world motorsport championships such as Formula 1 and, since 2000, MotoGP. In endurance racing, after hosting the Estoril 1000km in 1987 and the Estoril 8 Hours in 2000, the Portuguese circuit marked its return to the EWC last year by concluding the season.
This 4,182-metre-long, winding and hilly track is unanimously appreciated by the riders but it also puts a lot of strain on the mechanics, especially as temperatures are often high.
Yoshimura SERT Motul arrive in Portugal in the lead after their 24 Heures Motos win, but will face keen competition.
“After our victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we are starting from scratch again We have to keep our feet on the ground because the competition will be very strong once again. We have a lot of work ahead of us as this is the first time we will be riding here on Bridgestone tyres. But we are all confident. The technical team, the bike and the riders form a package that works very well. We will have to stay focused all the way to the end though, as we are of course aiming for a podium finish once again.”
The 2020 winners at Estoril, YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team, will provide the toughest competition for the new Suzuki factory alliance. At Le Mans last month, a mechanical problem put an end to the duel for the lead between the Suzuki and the Yamaha. The fight will take up where it left off at Estoril but YART are not the only ones seeking revenge. F.C.C. TSR Honda France, who finished 9th at the 24 Heures Motos following electrical problems and a crash, will also have to make up lost ground in the championship.
Well placed behind Yoshimura SERT Motul after their podium finish at Le Mans were Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar.
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team arrive after third place on the podium at the season opener, the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) in June, Werner Daemen’s team is confident ahead of the second endurance race with the new BMW M 1000 RR ridden by Markus Reiterberger (GER), Xavi Forés (ESP) and Kenny Foray (FRA), the fourth rider of the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, at Estoril. Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) will be in action in the International German Motorcycle Championship (IDM) at the Nürburgring (GER) at the same time. Forés was recently forced to sit out races after injuring his wrist in the British Superbike Championship (BSB) but was able to take part in the Estoril test rides without any restrictions on Tuesday, and was given the go-ahead to race at the weekend by the official FIM race doctors on late Tuesday afternoon. Eugene Laverty (IRL) was on hand just in case Forés was unable to ride, which is why he also completed test laps on Tuesday.
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“Our goal at Estoril is to carry on where we left off with the strong performance at Le Mans. We proved the potential of our new BMW M 1000 RR in endurance racing. We were initially pushed back down the field due to a technical issue, but the team resolved it quickly. The test on Tuesday was promising once again, so we are optimistic going into the race weekend. All three of our riders, Markus, Xavi and Kenny, were riding at the same very high level once again so we are well-prepared and hope to be as strong as we were at Le Mans. Thanks also go to Eugene for coming to Estoril at short notice to jump in as reserve rider if necessary.”
ERC Endurance-Ducati, who completed a 24-hour race for the first time at Le Mans, finishing 8th, will attempt to continue on their road to the podium. During private tests at the beginning of race week at Estoril, ERC Endurance-Ducati will be shored up by Lorenzo Zanetti, a Ducati test rider in the Italian CIV Superbike championship, and World Superbike Ducati rider Scott Redding’s chief mechanic.
Yoshimura SERT Motul get to Portugal with a 16-point lead over the competition, but everything could change at the 12 Hours of Estoril. 30 points are available for the winner, plus bonus points for the top 5 teams on the starting grid and points awarded 8 hours into the race.
High-performance challengers who got unlucky at Le Mans but will be worth watching are VRD Igol Experiences, Tati Team Beringer Racing, Moto Ain, Wójcik Racing Team and 3ART Best of Bike.
A hard-fought battle is also expected in the Superstock class too. The winners at Le Mans, National Motos, will have to defend their position against some highly motivated rivals, namely Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore, who were forced to withdraw at Le Mans, BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers, No Limits Motor Team, Wójcik Racing Team 2, RAC41 ChromeBurner and Team 33 Louit April Moto.
The first official free practice for the 12 Hours of Estoril will start at 11am local time on Thursday 15 July. The race will be flagged off at 9am on Saturday 17 July.
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