Sylvain Guintoli and Kazuki Watanabe join Yoshimura SERT Motul
The FIM Endurance World Championship’s factory Suzuki team have recruited two new riders of repute. Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli and Japanese rider Kazuki Watanabe join Suzuki Yoshimura SERT Motul’s 2021 line-up alongside Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon.
Last October, the factory Suzuki team—the 2019-2020 FIM EWC champions—announced they were tying up with Japanese firm Yoshimura to form a new team, Yoshimura SERT Motul.
As the new year gets underway, the team have revealed a 2021 line-up made to measure to go after a fresh world title. Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli, the 2014 World Superbike champion, and Japanese rider Kazuki Watanabe will ride the Suzuki together with Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon.
Sylvain Guintoli: a seasoned champion
38-year-old Sylvain Guintoli has extensive experience. He was crowned French 250cc champion in 2000 and made his mark over the next few years in the GP250 world championship and MotoGP. He joined the FIM Superbike world championship in 2010, winning the title in 2014. As a Suzuki test rider in MotoGP, he was one of the architects of the brand’s victory in 2020.
His endurance racing debut was equally successful. He won the 2010 8 Hours of Doha in the saddle of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s GSX-R1000 with teammates Vincent Philippe and Freddy Foray, thereby contributing to SERT’s 10th world title win.
Sylvain Guintoli has also become a lead player in the Suzuka 8 Hours. He has participated in the race thrice with Yoshimura Racing. He finished 5th in the last edition in 2019 with teammate Kazuki Watanabe.
Kazuki Watanabe: a Suzuka 8 Hours specialist
Kazuki Watanabe, 30, has an impressive track record in Japan. A leading light of the Superbike JSB1000, he is also a Suzuka 8 Hours specialist. 5th in the 2019 edition with Sylvain Guintoli, he finished 4th in 2018 and was on the second step of the podium of the 2016 Suzuka 8 Hours. He has also built up experience in GP250/Moto2 and the Supersport world championship.
With these two high-profile new recruits alongside Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon, the new factory team Yoshimura SERT Motul, a Franco-Japanese combination of Suzuki’s strengths, is making a powerful entrance into the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship.