Team Suzuki Press Office – September 1.

The Yoshimura Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Motul took part in the preparatory tests for the Bol d'Or, the final round of the 2022 FIM EWC championship, on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

The official Suzuki team, which is firmly established at the top of the championship, took advantage of these days of work to prepare for the most important event of the season.

Since its brilliant victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (France), which launched the 2022 FIM EWC season, Yoshimura SERT Motul has been leading the championship. The Franco-Japanese team then maintained its lead with a deserving fourth place in the 24 Hours Spa EWC Motos (Belgium) after suffering a serious mechanical breakdown during the race. The legendary strength of the team was also put to the test at the Suzuka 8 Hours in Japan where, despite being without two of its regular riders, the Suzuki #1 finished on the third step of the podium after a difficult but perfectly-controlled race.

Thanks to this great performance, Yoshimura SERT Motul will enter the Bol d'Or, the final round of the season, with a 23-point lead in the provisional championship standings. However, this comfortable lead does not protect the team from the return of the main competitors in the championship, because at the Bol d'Or, there are a total of 85 points to take.

With a view to prepare as well as possible for the event at the Paul Ricard circuit in Castellet, without Xavier Simeon and Sylvain Guintoli, the team was able to rely on the experience of Gregg Black, winner of the Bol d'Or in 2021, who provided valuable information to his two teammates, Japanese rider Kazuki Watanabe and Englishman Christian Iddon.

Without aiming for the best performance, the trio of riders worked on the settings of the GSX-R1000R to make it as easy as possible to ride on this very tiring track, especially because of the very long Mistral straight. The practice sessions were approached as endurance tests, with the riders doing fast and steady laps, worthy of a race pace.

Focused on its goals, the team intends to attack this new edition of the Bol d'Or, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The practice sessions will start on Thursday, September 15 at 8:50 am (local time) and will be followed by the qualifying sessions, starting at 2:50 pm on the same day; and at 9:55 am the next day.

The race will start on Saturday 17 September at 3pm (local time).

Damien Saulnier – Team Manager:

“We did these two days of testing as we usually do, that is to say by working on the preparation while keeping a safety margin with 8 days to go before the race. It's good to be at the Bol d'Or which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, but it will be even better to win it because it will go down in history. So we didn't work these days for the qualifying but for the race, with the goal to make the bike easy and pleasant for this very demanding circuit. I'm happy with the set-up because the riders feel good. So we are confident but it’s not a done deal, there are many points to take at the Bol d'Or. Mathematically, there are several teams that can still claim the title. It's up to us to stay focused to keep our lead and bring an 18th title to Suzuki.”

Yohei Kato – Yoshimura Team Director:

“We are back in France and we will defend our title again this year at the Bol d'Or. We tested a few new features, but we mainly focused on tyres and engine settings, especially to improve the fuel consumption of the bike. I am very happy with the work done by the whole team. We are ready to finish off the season.”

Gregg Black:

“These tests were successful. We had good weather conditions, which allowed us to work well with the whole technical team. We had a lot of things to try because the bike has evolved again. We are quite satisfied with the results because in race pace we saw that we were quite consistent and regular. The competition has also improved, so it will be a difficult race but we are quite confident. Even if there is still some work to do, I feel good on the bike, it is very positive.”

Kazuki Watanabe:

“I could only do one and a half days of testing because I had a race right before, but it's a pleasure to be back on this very nice track to prepare for the last 24-hour race. I really enjoyed riding the bike that we’ve adapted to this particular circuit. We have a good pace. There is still some work to do, but I can't wait for the race to start!”

Christian Iddon:

“It's my first time at the Paul Ricard circuit. It is a very particular track because everything is materialised on the ground by painting directly on the tarmac. From Cadwell Park, a very hilly circuit where I was just before, I switched to an extremely flat track! The grip here is excellent, with the Bridgestone tyres of the Suzuki it is really possible to push very hard. There are some very technical corners that close in and following other riders allows me to better understand the correct way to go. But the main characteristic of the Paul Ricard circuit is of course this amazing Mistral straight. I had never ridden a bike with a big gas for so long before! It's a circuit I'm discovering but I really like it.”

Bol d’Or Test Image Gallery (David Reygondeau @ GoodShoot): CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

For more stories about Christian Iddon, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Xavier Simeon, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Gregg Black, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Kazuki Watanabe, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Sylvain Guintoli, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

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