KAWASAKI SRC TAKES THE LEAD
Eight hours into the race, Team Kawasaki SRC has consolidated its lead at the 24 Heures Motos, with a two-lap gap over Honda Endurance Racing and F.C.C. TSR Honda.
After taking a minor spill at the start of the race, Gregory Leblanc, Matthieu Lagrive and Fabien Foret used the end of the day to widen the gap between them and their rivals. The Honda Endurance Racing bike with Julien da Costa, Sébastien Gimbert and Freddy Foray is two laps behind, together with the F.C.C. TSR Honda ridden by Kazuma Watanabe, Alan Techer and Damian Cudlin, who held the lead for 115 laps in the early stages of the race. Three private teams are riding a good race behind the leading trio. Team Bolliger Switzerland’s Horst Saiger, Michael Savary and Gianluca Vizziello did a superb climb to 4th place after a cautious run on a damp track early on in the race. Despite a small mechanical scare earlier in the evening, Team R2CL is on the alert in 5th place with Nicolas Pouhair, Aaron Morris and Lucas Mahias, who has posted the best lap time of the race so far: 1.38.448. Team April Moto Motors Events is also lapping comfortably in 6th place, with Gregory Fastré, Alex Cudlin and Gregg Black, who put on quite a performance in the opening stage of the race, taking the lead ahead of all the big guns.
A clutch of Superstock teams is on their tail. Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki has wrested back control in the category after a fall early on in the race. Close behind are Völpker NRT48 Schubert Motors, Team 3ART Yam’Avenue, Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers and Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences, which had some exhaust trouble. Team Louit Moto 33 Traqueur dropped behind the group shortly after the 8-hour mark due to a mechanical problem. Meanwhile, Racing Team Sarazin and AM Moto Racing Compétition have joined this Superstock group.
The 8-hour standings will in any case count for the intermediate points given to the top 10 in the rankings.
A few favourites are missing from the roll call. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team is lagging beyond 30th place after two crashes. GMT94 Yamaha has dropped to the bottom of the rankings as a result of Louis Rossi’s two crashes. YART Yamaha also suffered a crash and is continuing without the injured Ivan Silva. And, after starting from pole position, Penz13.com BMW Motorrad lost momentum after a crash and was forced to retire a little over 8 hours into the race.