Their 2021 season began with a win at the 24 Heures Motos. There could be no better way to start off the new partnership between Yoshimura, the Japanese Endurance specialist with four wins at the Suzuka 8 Hours and nearly as many podium finishes, and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, the team with 16 world titles in the FIM Endurance World Championship.
Last autumn, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, the 2019-2020 world champions, announced the launch of the new team Yoshimura SERT Motul. After the win at the 24 Heures Motos and a slip-up at the 12 Hours of Estoril, Yoshimura SERT Motul returned stronger than all the others to take the win at the Bol d’Or.
Having got to the 6 Hours of Most in the lead, Yoshimura SERT Motul had to run an error-free race to counter VRD Igol Experiences, the only team still in a position to challenge them for the world title. Yoshimura SERT Motul claimed third place on the podium at Most and with it the 2021 FIM EWC title.
The work of an entire team
In the saddle of the GSX-R1000R #1, Gregg Black, Xavier Simeon and Sylvain Guintoli fought relentlessly to win the title and the podium, with Xavier Simeon managing an acrobatic recovery at the only sign of danger. “I had a small scare during the race on an oil stain,” says Simeon. “Crashing was forbidden in this race and I was lucky to save the bike in extreme circumstances. We had less pressure than at the Bol d’Or where we had to make up the points lost in Estoril. In Most, we could run a careful race which allowed us to win this title which rewards all the team’s work.”
Gregg Black claimed his second consecutive world champion title with the factory Suzuki team. “SERT has probably been one of the best teams in endurance racing for a long time,” he says. “The association with Yoshimura has paid off because we have an incredible bike. The team has done a lot of work and so have Yoshimura and it is a pleasure for us to ride this bike. The team has also often had a good racing strategy and that’s important because it’s not always the fastest on the track who wins the championship. So I am very happy to have worked with Yoshimura and my two new teammates.”
A dream season
After several times racing in the Suzuka 8 Hours with Yoshimura and a win at the 8 Hours of Doha with SERT in 2010, Sylvain Guintoli has just concluded his first full FIM Endurance World Championship. The 2014 Superbike world champion has added a new world title to his Endurance track record.
“This season was like a dream because everything went according to plan,” says Guintoli. “The most incredible thing for me was to win the 24 Heures Motos and the Bol d’Or – two events that I absolutely wanted to win one day. That’s why I had the idea of joining Yoshimura SERT Motul. This title is fantastic because it rewards all the work done by everyone. We arrived here with the championship in mind but also the will to be on the podium, so the contract is fulfilled!”
The contract has also been fulfilled for the Yoshimura-SERT alliance, who have claimed the world title in their very first season. Yohei Kato, the director of Yoshimura SERT Motul, is aware of the importance of this success. “I am very pleased and honoured to win the championship in the first year of participation as the Yoshimura SERT Motul team. We vowed to fight in this Endurance World Championship on behalf of the Suzuki Factory Team. This season has proved to be a dream come true and we have won two of the world’s most famous 24-hour races, the 24 Heures Motos and the Bol d’Or.
“This world championship title is the first for this new team and the 20th for Suzuki. Suzuki, Yoshimura and SERT will keep working together to improve the Suzuki GSX-R1000R. The whole team will respect each other in the spirit of one for all, all for one. I think this is the best possible result to encourage the continuation of our efforts!”
For Damien Saulnier, the team manager of Yoshimura SERT Motul, this second successive title is confirmation of a successful handover to him as manager of the team created by Dominique Méliand. After winning the world championship last year managing Suzuki Endurance Racing Team on his own, he has once again succeeded, this time with Yoshimura SERT Motul. This new season has ended with a title and a podium at the 6 Hours of Most.
“We came to take the title and we hoped to get on the podium too,” he says. “I have a thought for the #333 with whom we fought a great battle. At the finish there was emotion, joy and deep gratitude for Yoshimura because this association led to impressive work. I am very proud of this team. We wanted to take as few risks as possible but still take our chances. The package with the bike, tyres and riders worked very well. Dominique Méliand entrusted me with the keys of the SERT and I am happy, in my position as team manager, to offer this team a second title.”