Matching Kawasaki’s resurgence in World Superbike, the company’s entry captured the top place in the 24 Hours of Bol d’Or at Magny-Cours in France, first race of the World Endurance Series.
The French SRC entry ridden by Julien de Costa, Gregory Leblanc and Olivier Four took a narrow one minute 41 second victory over the SERT Suzuki team of Anthony Delhalle, Fabien Forêt, and Vincent Philippe.
The Suzuki team’s finish was the more notable because only two of their riders rode most of the race, Philippe being out only five hours in after breaking a collarbone in a crash on a wet track. Kawasaki rider Julien da Costa praised the Suzuki team for their efforts: “They all amazed us clocking up the fast laps. They never gave up.”
Third went to a Yamaha R1 entered by the Monster Energy Yamaha YART team. Igor Jerman, Steve Martin and Gwen Giabbani fought hard to capture third position from another R1, the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube entry, less than a minute behind – the two were five laps behind the first two finishers.
Off-and-on rain made the track slick and unpredictable, with many crashes resulting. One of the highly-favoured teams, the “Honda Legends” team from the U.K. with TT experts Donald Cameron, John McGuinness, and Simon Andrews, managed a ninth despite what the FIM press release called “an impressive crash.”
The next round in the series is the eight-hour scheduled for the Losail Circuit in Qatar, June 9.