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WEC: Yamaha sweeps Qatar finale

Jason Pridmore on the podium

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Nov. 11, 2008
Yamaha scored a podium sweep in the final round of the World Endurance Championship at the Losail circuit in Qatar on Nov. 8.

Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART), with riders Igor Jerman, Steve Plater and Steve Martin, came out on top of the eight-hour endurance race. The three riders rode 226 laps on their Yamaha R1 to claim the teamís only win in the 2008 WEC season.

Falling three laps short was Yamaha Folch Endurance with riders Daniel Ribalta and Pedro Vallcaneras. The Folch Endurance team lost some time due to a problem with the rear wheel, but the runner-up finish cemented third place in the final championship standings in the teamís first year in the WEC.

From left, Igor Jerman, Steve Plater, team manager Mandy Kainz and Steve Martin celebrates their victory in Qatar.Coming in third was Maco Moto Racing with Thomas Hinterreiter, Jakub Smrz and 2002 AMA Formula Xtreme Champion and 2003 WEC Champion Jason Pridmore. The Maco Moto R1 completed 222 laps.

The race started with Plater battling for the lead with Smrz, Suzuki Endurance Racing Teamís Matthew Lagrive and Phase One Enduranceís Glen Richards.

Richards crashed a few laps into the race, and Plater was nearly taken out as well but opted to race more defensively and settled into third behind Smrz and Lagrive.

Plater moved up to second when Lagrive also crashed, before handing the reins over to Martin. The YART bike and the Maco Moto team continued to battle throughout the race with several lead changes until Yamaha Austria pulled away with 90 minutes remaining for the win.