SERT: GSX-R1000 – 2019/ 2020 EWC World Champion
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team has clinched its 16th Endurance World Championship crown at the fourth and final round at Estoril in Portugal.
Etienne Masson, Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon recorded 416 laps of the Estoril Circuit aboard their GSX-R1000 to finish the 12 Hours of Estoril in fourth position and claim the season victory by 18 points over runners-up YART.
SERT started the race from fourth on the grid on Saturday morning. Gregg Black had the first stint and, as usual, he performed well as soon as the race began as he achieved the holeshot.
Lap by lap, the SERT set their pace by staying close to the leaders, but without taking any risks. The first part of the event went according to Team Manager, Damien Saulnier’s battle plan. And as a result, by the eighth hour, the #2 Suzuki was fourth in the provisional classification and earned a seven-point bonus.
Masson, Black and Siméon then ensured very fast stints in order to keep the pressure on their main rivals. However, the magic of endurance racing also lies in its twists and turns, and during this final under pressure, the SERT were not spared: Two mechanical warnings (engine mounting bracket and gearshift selector) during the eighth and 10th hours of the race did not prove a major issue to the highly-efficient SERT technical staff who managed to repair rapidly without losing much time.
Damien Saulnier – Team Manager:
“I have a thought for the former SERT team, without whom we would not be here today. I also think about Vincent Philippe who was with us for the victory at the Bol d’Or. But I am also very proud of my new team. The SERT have always been a great human history and it is important for me to continue in this direction. I would also like to thank our partners, Dunlop, Motul, Yoshimura and of course all the others that helped us a lot and with whom we will continue the adventure.”
“Last year we missed the title. But we did it in 2020 with a new team. It has been a complicated year and this last race wasn’t easy either because we had to manage our advantage in the championship. However, we remained focused on our goal until the end. The SERT is a great team. I am very happy to be part of it and I hope to have many more great moments within this family!”
“This title makes me extremely happy! I’ve been running after it since 2016, since Anthony’s accident. What happened next was very complicated. We had to get up and fight every day. Then we had to manage the new SERT and start almost from scratch. Finally, we had to deal with Vincent’s departure and the arrival of a new rider. There were many things to deal with, but everything worked very well from the beginning. The competition is getting tougher and tougher but the SERT never gives up!”
“It’s not easy to adapt to Endurance racing when you come from MotoGP. My teammates had a few doubts, I had doubts too. Nevertheless, I was warmly welcomed and in order to thank them, I gave 100% during the races. I feel something special for this team. My father was part of the family 20 years ago, as he was a Suzuki dealer. As for me, I also was European Champion with Suzuki. I hope that in the future I will also be able to celebrate a full title with the SERT!”
The now 16-time SERT title victors with riders Etienne Masson, Gregg Black and Xavier Simeon recorded 416 laps of the Estoril Circuit aboard their GSX-R1000 to cross the finish line in fourth position and claim the season victory by 18 points over runners-up YART.
Said Gregg Black being interviewed on Eurosport: “We had a good 40 point lead coming into the race, we knew it would be hard today, but we all did it, so thank you to Suzuki.”