Suzuki 2021 Summer Magazine

TEAM SUZUKI RACING NEWS 14 2021 Summer Issue Japan, joined Yoshimura SERT Motul as Team Director, working alongside Team Manager Damien Saulnier. The first task for Kato and Saulnier was to finalise its rider line-up. Gregg Black and Xavier Siméon were part of the 2019/2020 winning team and retained for 2021. The management went on to recruit Sylvain Guintoli, the 2014 World Superbike Champion, and added Kazuki Watanabe, a former All Japanese Championship winner and development test rider for Suzuki, into the mix. Testing times At the beginning of the year, Yoshimura’s race department embarked on extensive R&D with the new-for-2021 Suzuki GSX- R1000R team bike. With Watanabe’s input, the Yoshimura guys were able to take advantage of crucial testing on a private track, and also review data from a ‘real’ racing environment when Watanabe raced the All-Japan Series. Once the team bike was shipped to France in March, the plan was for all four riders to get together in a private test session at the Bugatti Circuit, Le Mans to put the GSX- R1000R through its paces and benefit from four-way feedback. Unfortunately, as is often the way with racing, the plan didn’t go according to schedule. Guintoli, who is also the factory test rider for the Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP team, was committed to attending pre-season testing in Qatar, while Siméon was self- isolating following contact with Covid-19. This left Black and Watanabe to work with the Yoshimura and SERT technical staff, testing the new 2021 setup for the first time, as well as the new Bridgestone tyres. ONE DIRECTION Towards the end of 2020, Suzuki Motor Corporation announced an exciting new collaboration for its 2021 factory-backed Endurance World Championship (EWC) team S uzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), the 16-time EWC champions, merged with Yoshimura Japan and long-time sponsor Motul to become Yoshimura SERT Motul. This Japanese/French partnership was created with a single-minded determination to defend SERT’s 2019/2020 EWC championship title, continue to lead the way in EWC, and challenge for the 2021 series crown. New era Once the alliance was confirmed, Yohei Kato, the Technical Director of Yoshimura EWC 2021 Gregg Black lit up the night ride