Pirelli and Team Kawasaki SRC win at the Bol d’Or after a spectacular comeback, for the third consecutive year
The trio of Gregory Leblanc, Matthieu Lagrive and Nicolas Salchaud, on the number 11 Kawasaki ZX10R fitted with Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tires, crossed the finish line with a 5 lap advantage over the second place team
Magny-Cours (France) – Yet another victory, the third in a row, for Pirelli and Team Kawasaki SRC today at the 78th edition of the Bol d’Or, the 24-Hour race held for the last year on the French Nevers Magny-Cours track and which is part of the FIM Endurance World Championship.
Riders Gregory Leblanc, Matthieu Lagrive and Nicolas Salchaud for Team Kawasaki SRC on the number 11 ZX10R shod with Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike, DIABLO™ Rain and DIABLO™ Wet tires, won the race with a 5 lap advantage over the second place team.
For Pirelli and Team Kawasaki SRC, this is not only the third consecutive win in this competition, but also the seventh win in a row together in the Endurance World Championship considering the 4 consecutive victories at the Le Mans 24-Hour from 2010 to the present, proof of the perfect harmony between team, riders, motorcycle and tires.
After starting from the sixteenth spot on the grid and an uphill race due to a crash by Leblanc during the first hour of the race, as well as the constantly changing weather, “Le Verts” (The Green riders) took a win after 743 laps and 24 pit stops, putting in an average of 31 laps with each set of tires. The tenacity of the Kawasaki SRC and its riders, combined with the experience of the Pirelli engineers and the excellent reliability of the Pirelli tires, allowed them to make an exceptional comeback, taking Pirelli and Team Kawasaki SRC to victory once again.
The performance of the Pirelli racing tire range was certainly a substantial contributing factor for the win. In fact, throughout the 24 hours the riders encountered asphalt which alternated between dry and completely wet and slippery. The intermediate DIABLO™ Wet tire designed by Pirelli last year and also used when needed in the World Superbike Championship proved to be essential for the victory.
With a tread design halfway between the slick solutions and the rain solutions, this tire was designed to improve performance on a wet/damp track and the design was taken directly from the one on the rain tire, making changes of the land/sea ratio in order to guarantee water drainage in wet track conditions and at the same time provide more surface to the compound in order to reduce stress, deformation and consequently overheating.
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:
Suzuki’s Junior Team LMS raced the lead in the 2014 FIM Endurance Superstock Championship and third overall at the weekend’s 78th Bol d’Or series opener at Mangy-Cours in France.
Team riders Baptiste Guittet, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black recovered from a crash early on to fight back through the pack aboard the French team’s GSX-R1000 to finish on 732 laps, as reigning World Endurance Champions were forced to retire after a heavy crash by Vincent Philippe after leading at the 11-hour mark.
Said Masson: “We were in it to win the Superstock class but when we realised we could get on the overall podium we kept our cool. It was Damien Saulnier, our team Manager, who was the most stressed out! The hardest thing was to manage the choice of tyres. We don’t have the high-speed wheel-changing system as the EWC teams, so congratulations to the crew of students from LMS. They did a fantastic job for their first race!”
Junior Team LMS, who qualified in fourth place just behind SERT, started well behind early leader Vincent Philippe until a high-side by Black in the rain-hit drama-packed event put them down the leaderboard, but after a pit stop to check damage and make repairs, the team started its climb through the ranks as several top teams, including later race leaders Honda Racing were forced to retire following crashes and mechanical problems. The Superstock class winners held-off a strong change by Bolliger Team Switzerland in the closing stages to finish one lap ahead of the Kawasaki.
Following SERT’s crash during the night – and frontrunners Monster YART’s departure after several crashes – SRC Kawasaki took over the lead and held it to the end, clocking-up 743 laps, five ahead of Yamaha Racing 94.
Bol d’Or World Endurance Results: 1 SRC Kawasaki (Kawasaki) 743 laps, 2 Yamaha Racing GMT 94 (Yamaha) 738, 3 Junior Team LMS – Guittet/ Masson/ Black (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 732, 4 Team Bolliger Switzerland (Kawasaki) 731, 5 Team Motors Events April Moto – Fastre/ Savary/ Storrar (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 730, 6 National Motos (Honda) 725, 7 Team R2CL – Jones/ Martin/ Giabbani (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 722, 8 Yamaha Vitais Experience (Yamaha) 714, 9 Metiss JLC Moto (Metiss) 709, 10 AM Moto Racing Competition – Loisseu/ Maitre/ Buisson - (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 703.
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Racing:
Yamaha Take Second in thrilling 78th Bol d’Or
The Yamaha France GMT94 Michelin Yamalube Team delivered an incredible performance yesterday, taking second in the World Endurance Championship’s opening round, The Bol d’Or at the Magny Cours circuit in France.
Regular GMT riders David Checa, Kenny Foray and French Supersport rider Mathieu Gines, were joined by Lucas Mahias as a fourth rider on the Yamaha YZF-R1 for the gruelling 24hr endurance race.
The seasoned team of racers were never outside the top three for the entire 24hrs of the race, starting from second on the grid they battled through both wet and dry conditions to keep control of their podium fight. As the race entered the night the team took the lead and looked strong enough to hold the front for a race win until a rain shower and subsequent wet track caused a crash ahead of them, slowing them up and costing valuable time.
The team had their own share of drama, Kenny Foray crashed out with the R1 in the difficult conditions but was able to re-join and bring the bike back to the team of mechanics. The crew were able to deliver the necessary repairs in record time, getting next rider David Checa back out and into the action.
The Superstock class saw a mirror of success for Yamaha with riders Loic Bardet, Cyril Carrillo and Johan Nigon bringing the Yamaha Viltaïs YZF-R1 home in second place in their class.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART) were not so lucky and had to retire before the end. Rider Wayne Maxwell crashed out on the slippery track, breaking his leg in the process.
Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube Team
?“It’s a great feeling to be back on the podium. I made a mistake and I feel bad about that. When I brought the bike back in a very bad state, the mechanics got it back in shape in just 12 minutes. That was really impressive.”
Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube team manager
?“You could say that we were the survivors, but all the guys on this podium can be very proud of what they have achieved. The team worked really hard to keep the bike in fighting shape and it performed well. We deserved to be where we finished!”