The winter test on the Bugatti circuit is enabling some of the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship teams to re-familiarize themselves with the track, which will host the 24 Heures Motos on 17 and 18 April. The favourites for the 2021 world title are all there, among them one of the most keenly-awaited teams: the reigning world champions and their new outfit, Yoshimura SERT Motul.
The Franco-Japanese tie-up between two of the foremost Endurance specialists is already firmly focused on the objective. Yoshimura’s technical staff and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team are testing the 2021 setup for the first time this week on Suzukis prepared by Yoshimura and equipped with Bridgestone tyres. The two riders in the saddle for this first track outing are Gregg Black and Kazuki Watanabe, who is doing his maiden run on the Bugatti circuit.
In the pit box, the staff review each session on the track in a highly focused atmosphere. With a month to go for the start of the 2021 season, Yoshimura SERT Motul have full confidence in the optimized GSX-R1000R.
“Our 2021 bike is totally different,” says Damien Saulnier, the French team manager. “The machines have been prepared in Japan. Suzuki and Yoshimura have invested heavily in the development of the bikes.” Rider Gregg Black confirmed that opinion right after his first session. “It’s still a GSX-R, but with a whole lot of little changes. The electronics have evolved and they make for a good package with the Bridgestone tyres. The bike is easier to handle and more comfortable too as a result of little things like the repositioned footpegs.“
For Yohei Kato, the Japanese team manager of Yoshimura SERT Motul, this is the result of several years of collaboration. “Suzuki and Yoshimura have developed the bike year by year to win the Suzuka 8 Hours. This bike is based on specifications from the Yoshimura bike for Suzuka. Since last year, we have been working with SERT to adapt and develop the bike for 24 hours.”
As for comfort, Kato believes it is all part of performance. “The rider has to be focused on his ride, so we made a bike that lets him stay focused. The target remains to post a better lap time.”