2024 Suzuki GSX-R1000R

Yoshimura SERT Motul took a brilliant victory in the 47th edition of the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans, the opening round of the 2024 FIM Endurance World Championship.

The 48 teams entered in this first round of the 2024 FIM EWC Championship took to the Bugatti circuit at 3pm CET on Saturday the 20th of April in front of more than 78,800 spectators, the biggest crowd at the circuit since 2011.

Starting from second on the grid, Gregg Black once again showed his talent by outclassing his rivals, taking the first holeshot of the season and pulling away from the field on the first lap.

After an early lead, the British-French rider set a solid pace behind the new leader. His team-mates Etienne Masson and Dan Linfoot also put in strong performance as the team Suzuki GSX-R1000R regained the lead in the following stints.

Then, as Yoshimura SERT Motul was beginning to extend its lead over its rivals, Black seemingly made a mistake after 105 laps, just as the team was holding a 12-second lead. It soon transpired that, during a quick pit stop update, the traction control had turned off, resulting in an unavoidable high-side by Black.

The entire technical team regrouped and repaired the Suzuki GSX-R1000R in record time. Less than six minutes later, Black was back on track, in 18th position. The team was later penalised with a ‘ride through’ for the fact that Black was facing the wrong way after his accident …

Over the next few hours, Black, Masson and Linfoot gave their all as they worked their way through the field and back up the rankings. By the eighth hour of the race, the team had moved up to fourth place and banked a welcome seven bonus points.

The three Yoshimura SERT Motul riders maintained a high pace throughout the night – consistently circulating around a pace of 1m.36s – while the technical crew confirmed their expertise with rapid pit stops.

At the important 16-hour points-scoring mark, the team and its powerful #12 Suzuki GSX-R1000R took a further 10 bonus points and the riders, making no mistakes, controlled the race from the front right the way through to the chequered flag.

Yoshimura SERT Motul claimed victory on track and in the championship. Suzuki claimed its 15th win at Le Mans, and is now the most successful motorcycle manufacturer in the history of the Le Mans 24-Hour motorcycle endurance event.

Yohei KATO – team director
“It was an incredible win. We made a few mistakes, but we managed to come back and win in the end. I’d like to thank the riders and all the staff who deserved this result. Thanks also to all the fans, Yoshimura, the SERT and Suzuki. Now that we’ve won this first race, we still have three more victories to achieve the goal we’ve set ourselves this year. We’ll do our best to achieve it.”

Damien SAULNIER – team manager
“We were beginning to miss winning at Le Mans! I’m very proud of what the team has achieved. I really admire what the riders managed to do during the night. Everyone was motivated and gave 100%. I’m also happy because our technical staff has changed quite a bit this year. It wasn’t easy to get everything right from the start of the season. That’s why the win at Le Mans is another reason for great satisfaction.”

Gregg BLACK – rider
“It was a great race. We battled hard at the start with YART on a very good pace. Then we had a little traction control problem which caused me to crash. A second race began for us with the aim of giving everything we had to try and grab a podium finish. In the end, our rivals also had their share of problems and we managed to set some great times without making any mistakes. After finishing 2023 with a win at the Bol d’Or, we’re really on a good momentum. We have a very good package with a high-performing bike and Bridgestone tires that are working well.”

Etienne MASSON – rider
“My first win at Le Mans was in 2015, in my first season with the SERT. So, to win again nine years later is an immense pleasure. And this victory is so special because we had a difficult start to the race. But, we were able to focus right away. The team worked really well on the bike and, on the riders’ side, we attacked all night to close the gap on the leaders. In the end, our efforts paid off. We had so many problems last year, it feels really good to start 2024 with such a brilliant win.”

Dan LINFOOT – rider
“This is an exceptional day for me. I’d like to thank my team-mates and all the staff for the great job they’ve done. I took part in this race last year, but that was in the Superstock category. To race this year with this team, at this level and with this package is incredible. Obviously, I still have things to learn in endurance racing but I’m now looking forward to the next race at SPA which, while it’s been a few years since I raced there, is my favourite circuit. I was able to gain confidence in EWC racing, thanks to this fantastic race. Thanks again to the whole team.”

Cocoro Atsumi – rider
“I am so proud to be a part of this amazing team. Although I haven’t been on track for the race itself, I hope I showed my form in qualifying and have been supportive to my team-mates, sharing my knowledge of the team’s Suzuki GSX-R1000R. I spent many, many hours during the winter working with the Yoshimura technicians developing our bike and I’m so happy to see it power through to the win at the 24 Heures Motos.”

With a total of 61 points, Yoshimura SERT Motul will arrive in Belgium as championship leaders for the 8 Hours of Spa Motos, the second round of the 2024 FIM EWC Championship, which takes place on the 8th of June.

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