Team Suzuki Press Office – December 14.
SERT: GSX-R1000 – 5th – 1st in Championship.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team increased its lead in the 2019-2020 EWC Championship at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia despite treacherous weather conditions that forced the inaugural ‘8 Hours of Sepang’ to be delayed and suspended on safety grounds.
SERT riders Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black, however, fought back throughout a shortened race aboard the GSX-R1000 to finish fifth overall and increase their series lead from 12 to 15 points after this second race of the series.
The 50 qualified teams eventually went back on track at 18:00 local time following the safety car for a number of laps for the three remaining hours of the race, but the conditions were still extremely tricky and many teams had issues and crashes during the shortened race.
Black started the race cautiously on a soaking-wet track, but during SERT’s two first stints, the weather improved, allowing Black to find an excellent pace. When Masson took over from Black, the #2 Suzuki had already climbed from 11th to fifth position. The track remained difficult until the end of the race, but the 15-time Endurance World Champions and its technical team did not make any mistakes.
SERT completed a total of 79 laps and took three pit-stops during the event and lead into the next round, the Le Mans 24-Hour, the team’s home race in France on April 18th.
The Sepang race was also a special moment for SERT, which is now managed by Damien Saulnier, as their longest-serving rider Vincent Philippe retired from the team after helping secure 10 of SERT’s world titles.
Damien Saulnier-Team Manager:
“When you are not on the top step of the podium you always wish you had a better place, but for this race with tricky conditions, our goal was a Top-5 and the job has been done. I am satisfied with the work we’ve done during the week while being aware that there is still some more work to do. The team keeps on growing up and everyone works hard. We are also very pleased with Yoshimura’s engineers support.
“I would also like to thank the organiser for this amazing event. Bringing 38 European teams to Malaysia was not an easy task! And last but not least, I would like to say a word for Vincent Philippe, who didn’t race today because of the circumstances. He is a very professional man and I had great confidence in him. I am filled with emotion, but also proud to have been able to work with this remarkable rider.”