Le Mans, France. ERC Endurance Ducati has scored a fifth-place finish in the opening round of the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship at the 24 hours Motos of Le Mans. Philipp Öttl (GER), Chaz Davies (GBR) and David Checa (ESP) did a brilliant job on track as did the team in a total of 24 pit stops. After 820 laps in 24 hours, which meant a total distance of 3431,7 kilometres, the EWC-spec Ducati Panigale V4R crossed the line only 22 seconds shy on P4. The squad had battled for the rostrum the entire race but finally had to take fifth. 

German WorldSBK regular Philipp Öttl took the start in front of 77.200 enthusiastic Endurance fans and did a strong and solid first stint. He then handed over to Chaz Davies before it was time for EWC veteran David Checa to take over. 

As soon as the first racing carnage had settled, ERC Endurance Ducati was constantly fighting for positions between P2 and P5, taking points for third after eight hours and for second after sixteen hours. 

The whole team did a faultless job during the whole race with “just” two problems occurring. First thing was the change of the now compulsory serie’s mono-refuelling system, which did not work properly on the EWC-spec Ducati Panigale V4R, making the team losing between 10 and 15 seconds at every refuelling-stop. A thing that will be closely looked at by the engineers in Bologna and Karlsruhe in order to have this sorted until the next round at Spa Francorchamps. 

Secondly ERC Endurance Ducati opted for a “maintenance plan” correct race to come into the pits to change the clutch as this had denied the team’s win at last year’s Bol d’Or, so it was all about playing it safe this time. Even though this was done under Safety-Car conditions, which meant a limitation of lap loss, it took seven minutes racing time from the squad. In the end there were a positive and a negative side to the situation: The improvements made on the clutch from the last race have shown it is not necessary anymore to change this part during a 24 hours race as it would last the distance. Learning process continues and for the next round this one is ticked off the list. 

Between laps 471 and 521 Öttl, Davies and Checa hold on to second place in the race, fighting YART Yamaha, with whom they changed positions a lot during the night stints. After the clutch change the team dropped back to sixth, but made its way up again, finally loosing out on fourth over all-race competitors of #333 Viltais Honda by 22 seconds only. 

ERC Endurance Ducati gained a total of 38 points at the 24 hours Motos at Le Mans and classifies fourth in the FIM Endurance World Championship standings after one of four rounds. Ducati is placed fifth with 21 points in the EWC Manufacturers Championship. 

The next round of the 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship will be held from 16th to 18th of June at the legendary Belgian race track of Spa Francorchamps. 

Philipp Öttl:

“I think we did a great race. I had a good start and a strong first stint. Of course there were some things that I had not experienced so far in Endurance, but still I always managed good stints. I did the fourth fastest race lap overall and also been the quickest in our team. This time the night sessions were a bit more difficult for me but still I was faster than at last season’s outings. We did a great job I think. We need some more improvements with our Ducati in some points to be better set up for those endurance races. My team mates were brilliant and did an awesome job. As last year my participation here was on a very short notice again but I found my way with bike really quick and also improved in a lot things compared to last year.”

Chaz Davies:
„It was great to see the chequered flag – it was my first real 24 hours on my third attempt, a really good experience to get through that race and the night, to get up in the morning and ride through that fog – which was really extreme – and kind of face all those challenges you have to face through a 24 hours. It was a good experience for myself. Everybody in the team can be really proud on what they did – from my team mates to the mechanics to the hospitality staff. I think we did a perfect race. Unfortunately that is a bit bitter-sweet as we didn’t finish on the podium – we definitely had the pace to do so. We held the podium position quite long in the race and opted to go for a maintenance interval which we saw afterwards would not really had been necessary. I guess we played it a bit too safe there and maybe it would have been better to just go for the podium. Again this is a learning process for everybody. We gained a lot of information from this race, both personally from what a 24 hours involves, but also from the mechanical side about the bike what points we have to work on – and which we don’t have to work on – for the next race. I feel I had really exciting times in this weekend. Again thank you to all involved in the ERC Endurance Ducati team and I am ready to go for the next one in a couple of weeks!”

David Checa:
“The race was not easy. We are not allowed to use the same re-fuelling system for the race as we had last year and we had no time to replace that on Friday – so we lost 10 to 12 seconds for the refueling at every pit stop and this means three laps. And you know it is never easy to recover three laps on track, but we never gave up. Without this problem we had the pace to fight for the second position. In the race itself our mechanics did a perfect job, everything was perfect in the garage. We did replace the clutch but now we know we can do 24 hours on one because it was a new one with a new system. This is good to know for the next race. From Bol d’Or we did improve especially during the stops with absolutely no mistakes. Our time will come, the next race is Spa. We still have to work a bit on the electronics but I think we can aim for the podium at Spa and then we will see what happens at the Bol d’Or as we know we have a very good bike there! The championship is still open because we did a very good race here and took points for P3 after 8 hours, P2 after 16 hours and at the end for P5. That’s good points and in Spa we will try to do the same and hopefully at the end of the year we will aim to be World Champions.”

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert