BACK ON TOP
With fifteen FIM EWC titles to its name heading into the 2019/2020 campaign, Suzuki’s pedigree in the competition was unquestionable – although its more recent form was less impressive with the team’s last championship coming in 2016.
The title drought would come to an end after four closely contested rounds in a championship season that was stretched out for over a year due to COVID-19 restrictions, beginning in September 2019 with the legendary Bol d’Or twenty-four-hour race at France’s Paul Ricard Circuit.
The Suzuki trio of French pairing Etienne Masson and Vincent Philippe and British-born Gregg Black – who has spent his entire racing career in France – got off to a flying start with victory at the Bol d’Or, although they finished off the podium at round two. Billed as the Sepang Eight Hours, the Malaysian event in mid-December 2019 was cut to just three hours because of heavy rain with the Yamaha team emerging on top ahead of Honda and BMW.
With Philippe replaced by Belgium’s Xavier Simeon for round three’s epic twenty-four-hour race at Le Mans in France over eight months after Sepang, the Suzuki team returned to the podium in third behind Honda and Kawasaki and then sewed up the title ahead of Yamaha and Honda with fourth in September’s twelve-hour season finale at Estoril in Portugal.
16 Endurance Team World titles – 2020, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 1999, 1997, 1988, 1987, 1983
Team Manager: Dominique Méliand
Riders: Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle, Etienne Masson
SERT FIGHT BACK FOR FIFTEENTH TITLE!
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Etienne Masson) retained the FIM Endurance Team World Championship in a nail-biting end to the 2016 season, which saw them clinch the title by a single point from GMT94 Yamaha (David Checa, Niccolò Canepa and Lucas Mahias) in the final round at the Oschersleben 8 Hours.
After victory for Team SRC Kawasaki (Gregory Leblanc, Matthieu Lagrive and Fabien Foret) at the Le Mans 24h, the GMT94 Yamaha team established their title credentials with a historic win at round two in Portugal. The first ever running of the 12 Hours of Portimão proved to be an epic battle between GMT94 and SERT, which culminated in an unprecedented fight to the final corner between Checa and Masson that saw the Spaniard take the flag by just 0.081 seconds – the closest ever finish in the history of FIM EWC.
After two rounds it was Team April Moto Motors Events (Gregg Black, Grégory Fastré and Alex Cudlin) who held a surprise lead in the championship. They remained on top after Suzuka 8 Hours that saw Yamaha Factory Racing (Pol Espargaró, Alex Lowes and Katsuyuki Nakasuga) take local honours, whilst SERT failed to register a point. However, the challenge of Team April Moto Motors Events faded in Germany, where they could only manage eleventh place. At the front, suspense ran high until the very last minute of the race, as GMT94 Yamaha sealed their second win of the season, only for SERT to cross the line just 21 seconds behind them and snatch their fifteenth title.