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Team Suzuki Press Office – May 21.

Defending World Champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team fought back to ninth place in the Oschersleben 8-Hour Endurance World Championship third round in Germany after a crash in the opening stages put them right at the back of the field, but in true spirit, the team dug deep and increased their series lead.

The 15-time title winners led from the start on their GSX-R1000 with Vincent Philippe taking the lead from fourth position on the grid, and heading the field until the end of the third lap, when he slipped-off, remounting uninjured after the high-speed get-off, but this cost the team more than 10-minutes in the pits for repairs.

However, at the hour mark, SERT was in 24th position, six laps behind the leaders, and making strong progress through the pack of 33 teams and it was decided that, as they were the fastest riders, just the long-time and experienced riders Philippe and Etienne Masson would fulfil all shifts, which meant new team rider Alex Cudlin sat-it-out from the sidelines.

The race-plan by Oschersleben stand-in Team Manager Dominique Hébrard, deputising for Dominique Melliand, paid off, as at the half-way stage, SERT was into the points and keeping hopes of a 16th world title intact with two rounds to run at Slovakia Ring and Suzuka.

Despite the extra pit-stop following the earlier accident, SERT’s pit-crew proved the teamwork and efficiency, as, after losing so much time, they managed two-less stops than the winners – and the total time spent in the Pit-Box (35.797mins) would have been one of the best of the race – eventually set by third-placed Bolliger Team Switzerland with a total time of 28.504mins.

Before Oschersleben, SERT held a narrow three-point lead over SRC Kawasaki, but with this team not competing at this event, the points-gap to current second-placed - and Oschersleben race winners, GMT94 Yamaha, has increased to seven points.

The penultimate round of the EWC takes place at Slovakia Ring, Germany on June 24th with the series finale at Suzuka in Japan on July 30th.

Oschersleben EWC 8-Hour Results:

1 GMT94 - Yamaha - 318 laps
2 YART - Yamaha – 318 laps
3 MACO RACING Team – Yamaha - 315 laps
4 Bolliger Team Switzerland – Kawasaki - 314 laps
5 F.C.C. TSR Honda – Honda – 314 laps
6 MOTO AIN CRT – Yamaha – 313 laps
7 Voelpker NRT48 Schubert-Motors – BMW - 312 laps
8 Yamaha Viltaïs Experience – Yamaha - 312 laps
9 Suzuki Endurance Racing Team – Suzuki GSX-R1000 – 311 laps
10 Honda Endurance Racing – Honda - 310 laps

Oschersleben Image Gallery, by David Reygondeau@good-shoot: CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

Championship Points (after 3 rounds): CLICK HERE

Full Championship Results ( CLICK HERE

For more stories about Vincent Philippe, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Etienne Masson, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Alex Cudlin, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

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