SUZUKI ENDURANCE RACING TEAM 3RD ON SLOVALIA RING EWC GRID

2018-05-13 17:01
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team will start tomorrow’s Slovakia Ring 8 Hours World Endurance Championship third round from third position after a positive day of work in the final qualifying session aboard their 2018 GSX-R1000.

SERT riders Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black improved their lap-times from yesterday to finish just 0.460 seconds from Pole Position, while in the Superstock class, Junior Team LMS Suzuki finished second in class and 13th in the overall standings against the EWC Factory teams.

Development work on the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 continues with SERT testing and evaluating new setting during the week and during the first free practice sessions, Dominique Méliand’s riders had to work twice as hard to adapt to this very technical and fast track where the new GSX-R1000 has never performed before, so feedback has been of high importance before the start of the race. But the team was rewarded today for their hard work, which showed on the timesheets.

During the first qualifying session, Gregg Black was with the front runners with a best lap time of 2.04.641. Vincent Philippe, SERT’s longest-serving rider and kingpin, was performing equally with a lap-time of 2.04.971 and Etienne Masson set a best lap of 2.05.971. But during the second qualifying session, later in the afternoon, Masson increased his pace and finished on top of his session with a superb lap time of 2.04.824.

These consistent performances allowed the SERT to end up with third place on the grid of the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring that gets underway tomorrow at 12:30hrs local time.

Vincent Philippe:

“It was a bit hard at the beginning of the week. We weren’t feeling 100% on the bike. But we were not discouraged. We tried many solutions and finally it worked for us. We came to a compromise that allows us to relax more on the bike. For sure we are paying a hard price for the lack of training sessions during the winter, but we are making progress. And it feels good to be back on the top-three during practice! Personally, I am sorry about my crash during the night session. Apparently, even when you are 40, you still can be too optimistic on track!”

Etienne Masson:

“Today, I had to make the hardest part of the work because Vincent and Gregg had already set good lap times yesterday. I am happy to have done the job and to be able to ride in the 2.04 times. It is true that at the beginning of the week we were a bit far away from the leaders, but we didn’t lose our heads and we made good progress. The whole team worked very well, and this third place is the reward. In the end, we achieved in adapting to the bike to the circuit and to our tyres. We are showing that the new GSX-R1000 has great potential and that’s the most important thing.”

Gregg Black:

“It’s been a long week and it allowed us to test many things on the bike. The new GSX-R1000 works well, and it is very fast. During practice, we used our race tyres and this third place on the grid is a good omen for the race because we’ll be able to ride with similar lap times. We are very confident ahead of this 8-hour race because we made a lot of progress on the bike since the last event.”

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

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