All in a day's work for Suzuki

Finishes one-two at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Apr. 21, 2008
Suzuki kicked off the Endurance World Championship season with a one-two finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on April 20, repeating their success from 2007 on the French track.

Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s (SERT) number two squad of riders, William Costes, Guillaume Dietrich and Barry Veneman, completed 770 laps to claim the victory. Costes and Dietrich also won at Le Mans in 2007 with Max Neukirchner.

SERT’s number one team and defending world champions Vincent Philippe, Matthieu Lagrive and Julien Da Costa finished eleven laps behind at 759, repeating their second-place result from last year.

Acropolis Moto Expert finished third at 756 laps, riding Yamaha motorcycles.

This year’s race, which began at 3 p.m. local time on April 19, was particularly grueling as bad weather and changing track conditions took their toll on the racers.SERT 2 was number 1 at Le Mans with 770 laps.

Julian Mazuecos of Kawasaki France led the field after the first eleven minutes when a sudden rainfall caused him to lose control and crash, knocking his team out of the race.

About two hours later, another race leader, Sébastien Gimbert of Yamaha France GMT, had to pull out due to a broken clutch, giving SERT 1 the lead.

SERT 1 held onto it for most of the evening until Da Costa took a spill trying to avoid what may have been a rabbit running onto the track at about 3 a.m.. That crash dropped them 16 laps behind. The squad was able to resume the race and surged back to second place, but their teammates in SERT 2 had too big a lead to overtake.