Team Suzuki Press Office – July 16.
Yoshimura SERT Motul: GSX-R1000R – (1.38.822) – 3rd.
The Yoshimura SERT Motul Suzuki team will start the 12 Hours of Estoril Endurance World Championship second round from third position on the starting grid tomorrow.
After setting the third fastest provisional time in yesterday’s first qualifying session, the EWC leaders confirmed its status as a strong contender for victory.
Gregg Black was the first to set off this morning at 9:00 am (local time) on the Portuguese track, under scorching sun and already high temperatures. Increasingly at ease with this new GSX-R1000R, now fitted with Bridgestone tyres, the French rider will know how to benefit from the work carried out in recent days by the whole team. He improved his times from yesterday and finished third in his session with a time of 1.39.295.
Xavier Simeon followed the same path as his teammate. He made his effort at the end of the session and recorded a fast lap at 1.38.738, which was also the third best time of his session.
When Sylvain Guintoli entered the track, the outside temperature had risen again. But the Bridgestone tyres worked very well in these conditions. The Suzuki MotoGP test and development rider showed his talent in the very last lap by concluding these qualifications with an exceptional time of 1.38.434.
On the average of the three best times of the team (1.38.822), the Yoshimura SERT Motul ranks third on the timesheet. It is therefore from this ambush position that the Suzuki #1 will set off tomorrow at 9:00am (local time), at the start of the 12 Hours of Estoril.
Damien Saulnier – Team Manager SERT:
“The whole team kept improving over the week, which is very positive. Our three riders had the same feelings on the bike and that allowed us to progress quickly. We knew that the competition was going to be very tough during practice and our 3rd place in qualifying is really stimulating. We haven’t raced since Le Mans and feeling good in practice gives us a lot of hope for the race. The tyres work well, the bike is both pleasant to ride and performs well, the riders are in top form, so everything is in place for a great race where our goal will be to score as many points as possible.”
Yohei Kato – Yoshimura SERT Motul Team Director:
“I discovered the Estoril circuit this week. It’s a really nice track but I was surprised by the strong gusts of wind the first few days! Today the conditions were much better. It remains a tricky track for the set-up of the bike and we have to move forward step by step. Of course, we were hoping to do better in qualifying and be even closer to pole position, but there was so much work to be done to get the bike ready that this 3rd place is very promising.”
“We started without any reference with the Bridgestone tyres. So compared to Le Mans, the testing was a bit more difficult. We needed a lot of time to set up the bike but in the last qualifying session the team took a step forward. There are still some small details to fix and we will work on them, but we are on the right way.”
“Our work paid off in the last qualifying session. There are still improvements to be made on the bike and we are progressing gradually. By scoring the 3rd best time, we can see that we are already performing well and that’s really encouraging. We have to keep working to make another small step forward for tomorrow’s race where we will of course fight for a podium.”
“We arrived in Portugal without having done any tests, unlike in Le Mans. So we discovered our bike with its new tyres in rather difficult climatic conditions because there was a lot of wind and since yesterday, a strong heat. So we had to work very hard. But our team is solid, experienced and in the race we will be there!”