One of the main items of news this week is the postponement of the Suzuka 8 Hours race to November 1. Due to the spread of COVID-19, the Organizer has in fact decided to postpone the appointment that was scheduled to have been held in July. The round in Japan will therefore close the Endurance World Championship, which means that the factory Yamaha team will miss the event this year. In addition to Yamaha, rumours have also been going around about a probable absence also by HRC.
In short, the absence of two big names that will certainly not go unnoticed. We had a word about this with Andrea Dosoli, head of the Yamaha Superbike project.
"Unfortunately, the spread of Coronavirus has forced motorsport to revise its plans,” the engineer said. “The various championship organizers are in fact considering how to restart their respective series and it will certainly not be easy. One of these is undoubtedly Endurance. Suzuka was scheduled for July and it has now been decided to move it to November, recognizing it once again as the grand finale of the Championship. "
Andrea, having moved the race to November means that we will have to forget about the big names, since the race takes place between Jerez and Misano.
“It will certainly not be easy to make riders travel between Europe and Japan in such a short time. More than the actual race, the problem is related to the jet lag. In addition, there are also other aspects to consider. Superbike riders are used to racing with Pirellis in the World Championship, while in Suzuka they have to adapt quickly to Bridgestones. It is certainly not easy to make such a jump ".
Last year Rea had in fact underlined this aspect several times during the Jerez weekend, after returning from the Suzuka tests.
"I can imagine. Unfortunately, during the year you get used to racing with a motorcycle and certain components and when you are at Suzuka you find yourself in a completely different context, where you have little time to adapt and you must be immediately competitive ".
Why isn't Yamaha racing officially at Suzuka this year? You also had the new R1…
"We are disappointed not to be at the start of the 8 Hours in an official capacity, but in Japan it has been decided to concentrate all efforts on MotoGP and I think that the commitment has been seen in recent months, given that the premier class of the MotoGP championship represents our priority. This was the right choice, also because Yamaha has hit all the goals it set itself for the 8 Hours, triumphing from 2015 to 2018 ".
It’s quite a big decision, given the new contractual agreements and the return of someone like Lorenzo as a test rider?
“The decision to fine-tune resources on MotoGP I think is significant. For Suzuka, a team like Yamaha must rely on a team of 40 people including technicians, mechanics and engineers. And the commitment on the track starts in February even with the first tests. The amount of work is a lot, as a result that’s the reason why the investment has been focused on MotoGP. However, we will in any case be at Suzuka for the 8 Hours with the YART team, our riders Fritz, Nozane and of course Canepa".
Andrea, on the Superbike front, what did you talk about after the last meeting with Lavilla?
“Dorna is working to try to understand how to start again and consequently they took action to ask the teams how many people are needed to move in a possible race weekend. At the moment, as far as our team is concerned and I think the others as well, we are speaking about no more than twenty units. While I have heard that for the private teams, they would be about ten. These are roughly the numbers, then of course we will have to understand about media and hospitality, plus suppliers such as parts, tyres and fuel".