eam Suzuki Press Office – July 21
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team rider Gregg Black reflects on the EWC season so far, plus the positive test he and teammates Vincent Philippe made at Suzuka in Japan last week in preparation for the final round of the series, the 42nd Suzuka 8 Hour race, which SERT goes into as a title contender, placed 2nd after 4 rounds and just 5 points off the series lead.
“Hi everyone, it is only few days before the Endurance World Championship Grande Finale at the Japanese round at Suzuka on the 28th of July.
As you have probably seen, our season is going pretty well. After a podium at the 24H Le Mans & 2nd place at the 8h Slovakia Ring we were leading the championship. Then we got to the German round for the 8h of Oschersleben wanting to score some big points and continue our podiums with the objective of winning this round. As you saw it didn’t go as planned! During my first stint, the #111 Honda passed me while I was leading the race, during the overtaking, the two bikes got caught up, I couldn’t avoid the crash, I tried my best to hang on to the bike to ensure the least damage possible.
We lost a lot of places but at the end of my stint we were only 17 seconds behind the leader of the race.
As the race went on we carried on pushing, getting back up to 5th place, but half way through the race, pushing a little too hard I lost the front end. This time the bike sustained more damage, but the team did a great job getting it back out on track after only 10 minutes in the pit.
A few hours later we finished the 8H Oschersleben round in 10th place, so we are now only 5 points behind the #11 SRC Kawasaki and 18 points ahead of the #1 TSR Honda.
Next round for my team mates Etienne Masson, Vincent Philippe and myself is the 42nd Suzuka 8 Hours and we need to score some important points for this last round. We need to make an intelligent race, finishing 4 places in front on the #11 Kawasaki and a few places behind the #1 TSR Honda; this would be for us a perfect scenario.
We have just got back from the official 8H Suzuka tests, which went pretty well, and we made our fastest ever lap time round the track in 2.08.6 on race tyres. Of course, this is always a hard race for us European teams. The Japanese teams have their full factory machinery out there, testing all year round with bikes and tyres specially dedicated for this race. So, we know our main objective is to finish in the top 10.
We tested some new parts on our Suzuki GSX-R1000R and also some new software updates and especially many different tyre compounds to find the best setup for the race.
Our base is now the best we have ever had at this track and I am really looking forward to this Grande Finale. We will all do our best to bring back another world title, especially for the last race with our team Manager Dominique Meliand.