Team Suzuki Press Office – May 8.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team will be on track this weekend for the third round of the 2019 Endurance World Championship, the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring, near Bratislava in Slovakia.
The 15-time World Champions are currently second in the five-round championship, just 16 points from the top following a hard-earned podium at the previous round, the Le Mans 24 Hours, on April 20-21st.
GSX-R1000-mounted Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black finished the race in third position and conducted a private test last week in preparation for the race at the 5.922km circuit which will also run in conjunction with an FIA World Touring Car (WTCR / OSCARO) race.
The 2018-2019 FIM EWC has already seen two different winners at two races. After two 24-hour races, at Castellet and Le Mans, the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring could once again shake up the world standings, with a total of 35 points available to the top finisher in Slovakia (30 for the win and 5 for pole position).
At the opening round, the Bol d’Or 24 Hour in France on September 15th-16th, SERT looked set for a victory after leading, until a technical issue forced them into the pits, losing several laps in the process. But after falling down the field, the team dug deep to claw back to fifth overall at the flag; and with extra bonus points for leading during the race, moved up to fourth in the rankings.
At the 42nd Le Mans 24 Hours, SERT led the race for several hours, but in the middle of the night, slipped back after some small issues that required an extra pit-stop, but once rectified, continued to fight through the night and into Sunday morning to finish the event in third after 25 well-calculated stops; one of the fastest and most efficient during the race.
The Story So Far:
Following their victory at Le Mans, Team SRC Kawasaki France arrive in Slovakia as series leader, although SERT is hot on their heels and wanting the top step of the podium. Top privateers Wepol Racing, and Bolliger Team Switzerland are in third and fourth.
In Superstock, GERT56 by GS Yuasa are still the top team but Moto Ain, BMRT 3D Maccio Racing, Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto, Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki and No Limits Motor Team get to Slovakia with only a six-point gap. Suzuki-mounted Motors Events will unfortunately be missing the race due to lack of funds, despite their Superstock class victory at Le Mans.
After the private tests on Tuesday, official free practice and qualification will take place on Thursday May 9th, with the cars and motorcycles on track on alternate days.
The 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring will be flagged off at noon on Saturday May 11th.