As the clock hit twelve, 36 riders ran to their bikes across the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben's long straight and gunned their racing machines towards the first corner.
GMT94 Yamaha were second in the championship standings with a 29 point margin at the start of today's eight hour race and had one goal; win the race ahead of the championship leaders and stay in contention for this year's title.
David Checa had a slightly cautious start from third on the grid and slotted in behind the fellow Yamaha team Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) bike, crossing the line for the first time in seventh place. He made the most of the nimble character of the Yamaha YZF-R1 and went on to take over the lead shortly before he came in for a quick stop. He handed over the bike to teammate Kenny Foray, who reentered the race in fifth and rode a strong stint before letting Mathieu Gines take over and put the GMT bike back in the lead.
Despite interruptions in the form of safety car situations the GMT team managed to keep their stints faultless and stay ahead of the championship leaders. The race was ultimately won by GMT Yamaha's incredible consistency. More than five hours and 30 minutes into the race GMT made the most of the third safety car situation and extended their lead to around 40 seconds enabling them to return from their sixth pit stop still in the lead.
As the sun went down it was Foray, with his economic riding style, who was given the honour of bringing the YZF-R1 home. With the track lit up red from the setting sun, he managed the gap perfectly and took the chequered flag with a 18.773s advantage.
Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) had a similar start to GMT. Starting from pole, Broc Parkes took his time, completing the first lap in sixth. As his confidence grew he worked his way up to fourth but then encountered some technical issues that slightly lowered his race pace and he was forced to let GMT pass.
It then was Iván Silva's and Sheridan Morais' turn to take the YZF-R1 out on track, but the Austrian team didn't have any luck with the pace car situations either, losing half a minute at the first two instances, leaving them no choice but to give it their all. Determined to get a podium finish they fought their way up the rankings and looked comfortable in third position until drama unfolded.
Parkes lost the front when he hit some oil on the track just before the final hour and had to come back in to the pits. He handed the bike over to Ivan Silva, who was unable to open the gas fully on his outlap, due to deformation of the handle bar and had to head back in immediately to have it mended.
Once Silva returned to the track YART had fallen back to fourth, but they kept a cool head, dropping consist lap times to ultimately score a well-deserved third place.
After the strong victory GMT94 Yamaha closed in six points on the championship leaders, while Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) took away twenty-five points. They look forward to Bol d'Or, held on September 17-20 at the Paul Ricard Circuit, which will be the final round of the FIM Endurance World Championship.
David ChecaGMT94 Yamaha rider
"We did what we came here to do, we pushed to win and it all went perfectly, there is nothing more to say. For sure we are really happy because in endurance it's really hard to win a race. We often receive second, but when you get results like this, you are really happy. Everything worked really well; the bike, the riders, the tyres and the team was fantastic too. In the last six years I've won at this track three times and I love it here, but it's really small. It's physically very demanding, but I love difficult tracks and at the end we can be happy with first place and YART taking third, so there were two Yamahas on the podium. In Suzuka Yamaha also won the race so in two races it had two wins, for Yamaha these are very good results."
Broc ParkesMonster Energy Yamaha YART rider
"We had some problems at the start of the race that meant we didn't have a pit lane limiter. We raced the whole race without electronics. In BSB we don't have electronics either, so it wasn't too different from riding my BSB bike. In the last stint I rode my personal fastest lap of all my stints, a 1'27.1, which was good. The bike felt good, but towards the end of the stint the tyres started to go off a little bit and it wasn't as easy to keep the times. Overall it was good, but towards the end of the race I crashed on some oil, but we were lucky that the bike was not too damaged and that we could get to the pits without losing too much time. It was a bit of an adventure to be honest, an eventful race. We were lucky to get third, but we had good pace, all the riders were fast today. Ivan, Sheridan and I were close on times and to get pole and finish the first race of the season, I think we have to be happy."