The manufacturers’ race
Endurance racing is a multi-faceted sport with extraordinary appeal. The prowess of the riders, teams, machines and tyre manufacturers all contribute to the excitement of the FIM EWC world championship, and this was amply demonstrated at the Bol d’Or.
The Pirelli-shod Kawasaki SRC dominated qualifying, taking pole and posting the fastest race lap. Wepol BMW Motorrad Team by Penz13, which claimed the second step of the podium, also uses Pirelli tyres.
An official tyre supplier to the FIM EWC since 2016, Bridgestone equipped the F.C.C. TSR Honda France bike, which stayed consistently at the front end of the race. After battling for more than 17 hours at the Bol d’Or, the Japanese team took the lead on Sunday morning on the Paul Ricard circuit.
Two Dunlop-shod teams, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and GMT94 Yamaha, staged a thrilling duel during the last eight hours of the race. Winner GMT94 Yamaha took Dunlop to the top step of the podium, while Honda Endurance Racing, another Dunlop user, climbed on the third step.
Honda Endurance Racing snatched the third place during the last few minutes of the race from the jaws of Völpker NRT48 Schubert Motors by ERC, a private German BMW team which has also opted for Dunlop tyres.
BMW tops constructors’ standings
So, as far as tyre suppliers go, the FIM EWC is wide open. The constructor championship is also opening up. Yamaha was first past the finish line, but with Wepol BMW Motorrad Team by Penz13 taking second place and Völpker NRT48 Schubert Motors by ERC just missing the podium, BMW (57 points) went to the head of the constructors’ standings, ahead of Yamaha (50 points) and Honda (47 points). Suzuki and Kawasaki notched up 28 points each.
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events and FIM EWC promoter
“In a first for a 24-hour race, the Bol d’Or enabled Honda and Suzuki’s new machines to express all their potential. The new CBR1000RR and GSX-R 1000 demonstrated that they will be formidable adversaries for Yamaha, BMW and Kawasaki. The intensified competition between tyre suppliers this season is another very positive sign, as it takes the FIM EWC to a higher level of technology and sport. Team SRC Kawasaki’s pole and fastest race lap were proof that Pirelli had come to the Paul Ricard circuit armed with very high-performance tyres. And it was the first time in a 24-hour race that Bridgestone was in the lead four hours from the finish with F.C.C. TSR Honda France. However, the Dunlop-GMT94 Yamaha combo’s performance proved to be the most consistently high-level in this tough and very fast race over 3,955 km. The EWC must remain an event where every constructor and tyre manufacturer can demonstrate the value of their products, all the way from racing to series production. Tough, demanding races like the Bol d’Or offer a fantastic showcase for their technology.”