More, from a press release issued by Eurosport Events:
YOSHIMURA SERT MOTUL TRIUMPH AT THE 24 HEURES MOTOS
The new Franco-Japanese alliance Yoshimura SERT Motul have clinched a victory in their first outing at the 24 Heures Motos. Suzuki came in ahead of Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar and BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team at Le Mans, the first round of the 2021 FIM EWC. The first Honda and Superstock winner National Motos finished in 5th place.
After 819 laps in the lead out of a total of 855, Yoshimura SERT Motul clinched a superb victory at the 44th edition of the 24 Heures Motos. The factory Suzuki ridden by Gregg Black, Xavier Simeon and Sylvain Guintoli finished 8 laps ahead of Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar’s Jérémy Guarnoni, Erwan Nigon and David Checa, who came roaring back after some issues with their brakes early in the race.
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team had more of a struggle but finished in 3rd place 13 laps from the leader. After a crash at the beginning of the race, Markus Reiterberger, Ilya Mikhalchik and Javier Forés had to ride flat out to return to the podium.
For Bolliger Team Switzerland, their 4th place finish is as good as a win. The privateer team on Kawasaki has just been taken over by Kevin Bolliger, the son of the founder. They started from 19th on the grid with an all-new rider line-up. Jan Bühn, Jesper Pellijeff and Ondřej Ježek ran a flawless 24-hour race to finish at the foot of the podium.
Very competitive Superstocks
The Superstock teams contributed substantially to the excitement of the 24 Heures Motos with the first Superstock bike finishing 5th. National Motos, the first Honda in the classification and winner of the EWC Dunlop Independent Trophy, won in the Superstock class with riders Stéphane Egéa, Guillaume Antiga and Kevin Trueb. National Motos warded off attacks by BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers (Anthony Loiseau, Jonathan Hardt and Julien Pilot) and No Limits Motor Team (Luca Scassa, Alexis Masbou and Kevin Calia). Team 33 Louit April Moto, who were still in the leading trio 2 hours from the finish, lost out on a Superstock podium because of overheating due to a damaged radiator. They finished 21st overall and the 12th Superstock.
In 8th place at the finish after a problematic start to the race, VRD Igol Experiences (Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Nico Terol) manged to rack up some important points. After being slowed down by a faulty oil hose joint, the 333 – the first Yamaha in the classification – also suffered a crash and some problems with the shifter.
Despite a crash, ERC Endurance-Ducati gave no quarter. Mathieu Gines, Louis Rossi and Etienne Masson took the Panigale to 9th place, ahead of F.C.C. TSR Honda France. Josh Hook, Yuki Takahashi and Mike di Meglio were in 2nd place overall but an electrical problem followed by a crash in the small hours pushed them back to 10th at the finish.
An exciting season opener
The 44th edition of the 24 Heures Motos – the first race of the 2021 FIM EWC – lived up to its promise to be an exciting, action-packed race. The drama started almost immediately on the Dunlop turn with a crash involving three teams, Wójcik Racing Team, Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore and RAC41 ChromeBurner.
The action taken by Hugo Clère, a rider of the Yamaha 18, to help Sylvain Barrier, stuck underneath the Wojcik bike which had caught fire, won him the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy.
Wójcik Racing Team continued the race with two riders, Balint Kovacs and Artur Wielebski, and finished 30th.
After that crash and a battle for the lead between Yoshimura SERT Motul and Tati Team Beringer Racing, an amazing duel took place all the way until early in the night between Yoshimura SERT Motul and YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team. The face-off ended when a valve broke on the Yamaha.
Three challengers expected to be among the front runners – Tati Team Beringer Racing, Moto Ain and 3ART Best of Bike – all featured in the Top 5, but were forced to withdraw. Tati Team Beringer Racing deserve credit for their fight in the lead early in the race before several crashes forced them to withdraw. Alan Techer of Tati Team Beringer Racing was the race’s fastest rider with a 1:36.743 lap.
The 12 teams that threw in the towel include LRP Poland with a clutch problem and, among the Superstock challengers, Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore, RAC41 ChromeBurner, Aviobike and Slider Endurance.
The next FIM EWC fixture is the 12 Hours of Estoril, the 2nd race of the season to be held in Portugal on Saturday 17 July.
More, from another press release issued by Eurosport Events:
BOLLIGER TEAM SWITZERLAND DECLASSIFIED
Following technical checks after the finish of the 24 Heures Motos, Bolliger Team Switzerland has been declassified.
The Swiss team, which crossed the finish line in 4th place, has been declassified due to a non-confirming fuel tank capacity.
The declassification takes National Motos to 4th place ahead of BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers in the race classification.
More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:
FIM EWC: BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team makes it onto the podium after a fantastic fightback at Le Mans 24 Heures Motos.
Third place for the #37 BMW M 1000 RR of the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team at the opening round of this season’s FIM Endurance World Championship.
Markus Reiterberger, Ilya Mikhalchik and Xavi Forés work their way to the front with a strong performance after an early technical issue.
Marc Bongers: “Congratulations to the whole BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team on this fantastic effort.”
Le Mans. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team kicked off the 2021 season in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC) with a podium finish. Markus Reiterberger (GER), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Xavi Forés (ESP) made a stunning fightback on the new #37 BMW M 1000 RR to finish third at the ‘24 Heures Motos’ at Le Mans (FRA).
Werner Daemen’s team had previously qualified third. When the endurance classic got underway at 12:00 (CEST) on Saturday, Reiterberger made a perfect start and immediately took the lead. However, shortly after that the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team suffered a major set-back. A problem with the fuel system led to several unscheduled pit stops. The team fell back to a seemingly forlorn 43rd place, many laps behind the leaders.
The team showed fantastic fighting spirit and the three riders impressed with a thrilling performance on the M RR. Fast lap times allowed them to gradually work their way back towards the front of the field, one position at a time. By the halfway point at midnight, the #37 was already back in fifth place. Shortly after that, Mikhalchik climbed into fourth place. On Sunday morning, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team found itself third and on course for a podium finish. They remained in that position until Forés brought the #37 BMW M 1000 RR home in third place after 24 hours of racing.
The two independent BMW Motorrad Motorsport teams, Team LRP Poland (#90 BMW S 1000 RR) and Team Univers Racing/AC Racing (#23 BMW S 1000 RR) failed to finish.
Round two of the FIM Endurance World Championship, the 12-hour race in Estoril (POR), will take place on 17th July.
Quotes after the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Congratulations to the whole BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team on this fantastic effort. I followed the race from Misano, where we also line up in the FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend. However, whenever possible we had the coverage from Le Mans on the TV and I was in constant contact with the team. After the strong start from Markus Reiterberger, we unfortunately had an issue with the fuel system, which saw us drop well back down the field. At that point, you could have been forgiven for thinking that the race was over in the first hour. However, Werner Daemen’s team and our riders Markus, Ilya and Xavi did not stick their heads in the sand and accepted the challenge. It was fantastic to see how they reeled in the field from the back and consistently worked their way to the front. They more than deserved to be stood on the podium at the end of the 24 hours. It is evidence of the team’s ability and fighting spirit. After the early set-back, that was a good start to the season.”
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “I’m very proud about the result. The race by itself was not the best start because of Marcus’ small crash. We had some technical problems, and we lost about eight to nine laps. Then the riders, and the team made a good job because we were fighting back. Fortunately we got the third place – much more than we expected after the first laps. The team worked perfectly together for the whole week, and we go further like this for Estoril.”
Markus Reiterberger: “I felt very honoured to ride at the start. Even walking to the bike was good, and when I pulled away it was really good. I really tried not to let the tyres cool and to save fuel but the tyres were still not right up to temperature, which really surprised me, as it was really hot. The front wheel ultimately folded in on me in the penultimate corner and I skidded into the gravel. I then did two more laps on the damaged bike, but then had to come into the pits. I feel sorry for the whole team that I made this mistake. In the end, the crash was not that bad. The main problem was the technical issues. Once those had been resolved, we were basically flawless for the rest of the 24 hours. I would like to thank the whole team for their hard work, and my team-mates for persevering so valiantly.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “I don’t need to say a lot of words. The job is done, and our target has become real. Everyone is happy. Hard work pays off for everyone from the team, especially for me because I’ve been working really hard since last year. Obviously I’m really happy to stand on the podium with my team and I hope we will continue the same way in the next races.”
Xavi Forés: “It was a really tough race for us. After the start, we had some issues and had to come to the garage a couple of times to solve it so we were at the bottom of the timings and then to make it to the podium felt like a victory for us. We knew that we are fast with our BMW M 1000 RR but could not automatically expect to be on the podium after the first hour. I am very grateful to be part of the team. The entire crew did an amazing job, we continued pushing and pushing until the end of the race. This third place was also very important for the championship and now we will give our all at Estoril. Thanks to all who made this possible.”
More, from a press release issued by Honda:
National Motos take incredible victory in STK at the 24h Motos at Le Mans whilst F.C.C. TSR Honda France denied the chance to continue their podium fight
In an amazing performance, the National Motos team took victory in the Superstock class and 5th overall on their CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, having started the race from 18th on the grid.
National Motos take incredible victory in STK at the 24h Motos at Le Mans whilst F.C.C. TSR Honda France denied the chance to continue their podium fight
After some shifting positions at the front of the category during the first half of the race, National Motos took the lead at the halfway point of the race on the #55 CBR1000RR-R. At night, Kevin Trueb had a problem with his right hand, and the team manager decided to keep him as a reserve rider and race with only two riders, Stéphane Egea and Guillaume Antiga, making their feat of endurance even more impressive.
Last year’s winners F.C.C. TSR Honda France finished the 44th edition of the 24 Heures Motos in tenth aboard their #5 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, having been in podium contention until the early hours of the morning.
After the first three hours, the team of Josh Hook, Mike Di Meglio, and Yuki Takahashi was placed in a podium position, sitting in third.
By the mid-point of the race they had completed 424 laps and moved into second place, and as the hours passed, the Honda team kept putting in consistent and solid laps.
Entering the final quarter of the race, F.C.C. TSR Honda France was still running in second place, but with just six hours to go, an issue forced the team to lose time in the pit box. The crew worked hard to get the team back out on track, albeit in sixth place.
Towards the end of the race, Josh had a crash whilst on cold tires and was forced to enter the pit again where the mechanics did a world-class job in repairing the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
Demonstrating true endurance spirit, fighting until the end, Yuki crossed the finish line in 10th.
Honda privateer team RAC 41 Chromeburner had to retire in the early stages of the race due to a crash involving three riders at the Dunlop turn after just fourteen laps.
#55 Stéphane Haddadj, National Motos Team Manager
‘We did a great race to finish it with only two riders, and it was very difficult to manage it. So, with the perseverance, professionalism and physical conditions of the rider, we got a fantastic result. The bike was extraordinary, and we hope that this result helps promote this bike that is born for the competition’.
#55 Guillaume Antiga
‘For me, it is amazing as it is my first victory and first podium in Le Mans. The race was good and the rhythm was very constant. We have to finish the race from 10pm with only two riders, and it wasn’t easy. The package of the bike was amazing and the Honda CBR was incredible with perfect reliability for us.’
#55 Stéphane Egea
‘It was incredible to ride from 10pm last night until the finish today with only two riders. The temperature was very hot, but the bike was performing very well. I like a lot the new model of the Honda CBR1000RR-R and it is very easy to get confident with it’.
#55 Kevin Trueb
‘I had a big issue with my right hand, and there was a problem riding the bike. I did two stints with this problem, but it wasn’t easy to take the speed and ride in safety conditions. The team manager decided to keep me as a reserve rider, but I understand the decision perfectly. I want to congratulate my teammate for their great job and the victory.’
#5 Josh Hook
‘The race was very hard and we had to struggle with this hot condition and didn’t have the perfect combination with the tires. We worked better when the sun went down, and the track temperature was lower. The goal was the podium, and we had a good chance to achieve that. The team did an amazing job, and a massive thanks to my teammates.’
#5 Mike Di Meglio
‘With the hot temperature, we struggled a lot with the tyres, and we need to analyse this for the next race. We did our maximum; we need to find again the speed that we lost to be ready for Estoril but the team was perfect and I want to thank all the team for their great job.’
#5 Yuki Takahashi
‘I never felt like this; physically and mentally it was very hard. It is a very good experience, and I learned a lot from this race, not only for riding but also for thinking. We had some challenges but this is an endurance race, and we will be stronger for the next one.’
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:
VICTORY FOR YOSHIMURA SERT MOTUL AT LE MANS
Yoshimura SERT Motul: GSX-R1000R – 1st.
Yoshimura SERT Motul showed formidable strength in winning today’s Endurance World Championship 24 Heures Motos opener at Le Mans in France after a faultless performance.
Reigning World Champions Suzuki had already shown great potential in qualifying, setting the second fastest time. In today’s race Gregg Black took the holeshot and led by the end of the first lap after being passed early on in the lap.
The first hours of the race were marked by a fierce fight for first place as the team put pressure on their rivals from the start. From then on, the Suzuki was firmly in control of the race and earned a 10-point bonus awarded to the leader at the eighth hour of the race.
The three riders Black, Xavier Siméon and Sylvain Guintoli kept a very high pace during the whole night whereas the technical team ensured very quick pit stops.
Leader since the third hour of the race, the Franco-Japanese team did not make any mistakes and concluded a perfect race with a brilliant victory eight laps ahead of the second place. The team recorded a total of 855 laps and took 24 pitstops.
Adding up the bonuses in qualifying and then at the eighth and 16 hours of racing, added to the 40 points for victory and Yoshimura SERT Motul leaves the Bugatti Circuit with a total of 64 points.
Leading the 2021 FIM EWC World Championship standings by a wide margin, the Suzuki will start the second round of the season on July 17th at the 12 Hours of Estoril, Portugal as the favourite.
Damien Saulnier – SERT Team Manager:
“Suzuki is back to winning at Le Mans, a mythical race, and this is a huge satisfaction. We are at the beginning of a great adventure with Yoshimura and our association is already working perfectly. Yoshimura’s experience in 8-hour races and SERT’s experience in 24-hour races means that we can be fast and durable. The package also works thanks to Suzuki’s development work, the quality of the Bridgestone tyres and of course the consistency of our riders.”
Yohei Kato – Yoshimura Team Director:
“It’s a victory for Yoshimura, for the SERT but also for Suzuki. It’s an honour to represent this brand and a great responsibility. We had a lot of pressure on our shoulders but the success at the 24 Heures Motos is a reward for our work. We had worked a lot beforehand to prepare for the race and the whole team was looking forward to the result. So this nice victory is very important. The SERT gave us the number 1, the aim is clearly to keep it in 2021 in this very competitive and rewarding championship.
“It was a really special moment to win the Le Mans 24H race, and I don’t know how to express my feelings. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our plans were rescheduled since the project was started and it was not so easy until we came here.
“However, our four riders and team crews did a perfect job through the weekend and we got a valuable victory because of everyone’s efforts. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 has been strong and reliable and it made the whole race really smooth. We had no issues today and we really had a perfect race.
“It would not have been possible without the great support from Suzuki and our sponsors. Also, our partnership between SERT and Yoshimura worked well. We will try our best to stay strong during the rest of the season and I hope we come back to Le Mans again and race with the great spectators next time!”
“I’ve been chasing a win at Le Mans for years. Here it is at last ! I am really happy and I thank the whole team for their excellent work during the whole week. The competition in the EWC is very strong. At the beginning of the season we were wondering where we would be. But right from the start of the test, the team proved that it was up to the task. The work done by everyone during the winter is paying off immediately. In addition, the understanding with my team mates is perfect. In endurance racing, this is a major asset.”
“My father was a SERT rider a few years ago. So this victory has a very special taste for me because it is the only race that was missing from his prize list. I am very happy with this victory and this race without any problem. But the championship has only just begun. There are other races on the schedule. Gregg Black won the Bol d’Or last year, I hope we can repeat that this year. I also hope that in 2022 we can add Spa to the team’s list of achievements.”
“The collaboration between SERT and Yoshimura is already bearing fruit. They are entities I have worked with in the past and we got along very well. These forces are now combined and the association is working perfectly well. With Gregg and Xavier, we are committed to winning. And here in Le Mans, we had an almost perfect race. It’s like a dream come true.”
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Racing:
Retirement Ends YART Victory Hopes in Le Mans
YART Yamaha’s Le Mans 24 hours came to an early end after a mechanical failure in the tenth hour finished their race while running in second place. However, despite a strong showing in the first half of the race, the team have secured 14 FIM Endurance World championship points.
With temperatures rising, Karel Hanika got YART’s 2021 season underway, but after an issue off the line he found himself down the order in 15th. The race was quickly disrupted following a first corner incident for the Wojcik Racing Team and this allowed the Czech rider to recompose himself before charging back through the field. The former Red Bull Rookies Cup Champion carved his way through the pack and quickly found himself back inside the top ten by the end of the opening ten minutes. Five minutes later and Hanika was inside the top five and continued his push for the podium places.
Setting the fastest lap of the race, the 25-year-old continued to push and moved up to third place before picking off the Tati Team Beringer Racing Kawasaki at Garage Vert to take second place. With a 2.7 second gap ahead of him, Hanika pushed on and caught the leading bike by the end of his opening stint.
With the number seven R1 now in the hands of Marvin Fritz, the German rider emerged back on track right behind the SERT bike, where he stayed for the duration of his stint. Keeping the team well within contention, Fritz pulled into the pits, and it was the turn of the experienced Niccoló Canepa. A vital pit stop for the YART squad saw the Italian take the lead of the race but couldn’t hang on as his stint went on. Struggling with rear grip due to the hotter temperatures, the official Yamaha team kept calm and ticked off the laps while keeping themselves within reach of the race lead.
Approaching the four-hour mark, Hanika was back onboard the R1 and closed the time lost during the pit stop. Following the SERT bike, the Czech rider pounced to take the lead, and a titanic battle with Gregg Black began. Hanika grabbed the lead but gave it up by pitting a lap earlier than his rival. In a comfortable second place, the YART team continued to push on and secured themselves nine extra points at the eight-hour mark.
However, YART’s hunt for a victory came to a dramatic end at the tenth hour as Marvin Fritz pulled the R1 into the pit. A heroic effort by the team saw the engine stripped and rebuilt within an hour, but with too much damage, the team was forced to retire from the race.
Despite the retirement, YART were able to secure 14 championship points in Le Mans and are determined to carry their race-winning pace into the second round of the season in Estoril, Portugal, on July 17th.
Moto Ain also retired from the season-opening event. The Yamaha squad had been running inside the top five, but a crash for Randy de Puniet saw their podium charge come to an end.
Karel Hanika – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“We are disappointed with this outcome, it’s difficult to accept it. Up until the issue the feeling was not bad. It wasn’t perfect because we were struggling with the rear grip due to the high temperatures, but despite this we could follow our place to keep as close to first as possible. Our plan was to really attack in the night because we know we were strong at that point but unfortunately, we can’t show our potential. I’m very sad for the whole team but I know we’ll be back in Estoril to make a strong result.”
Marvin Fritz – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“I don’t know what to say, it’s like a never-ending story. Last year we finished fourth and this year we were so strong in practice, and we had pole. We knew our strongest point would be in the night because our tyres and bike was working well in night practice, so we knew this would be our strongest point. We struggled in the day a bit more than we expected but even before the technical issue we was catching SERT by half a second to a second a lap and was in a good place for the night running. Karel, Niccoló and I have done a good job this week, the team has done an amazing job and we deserve so much more. The championship will be hard because we lose a lot of point in the 24-hour races but we’re already focussed to do as best as we can in Estoril and recover some points.”
Niccoló Canepa – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team
“It’s really frustrating to be out of the race this early. I was fast, didn’t make any mistakes and I felt strong, but we didn’t get what we deserve. The race was going to plan, the conditions was hotter than we expected so and we struggled a bit more. But despite that the gap was still so close for a 24-hour race! We knew that we were just starting our time, the pace in night practice was half a second quicker than our rivals so we knew we had something extra. It’s a shame but there’s nothing we can do. There’s no regret because we rode a good race, and we just need to focus on Estoril. We need to try and win some races now because when you lose a 24-hour race in such a short season, the championship is over.”
Mandy Kainz – YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, Team Manager
“Our plan was to control the race and follow Suzuki because we were struggling a little bit more with the conditions. We knew that our time would come with the colder conditions, and we proved that in warm up too. But suddenly, we couldn’t use the pace we had in the night after a technical issue with the engine ended our race. We will now look forward to Estoril, we need to arrive in the best shape possible and win, that is the goal.”