2022 Le Mans 24 Hour
Yoshimura SERT Motul has made it back-to-back wins in the 24 Heures Motos to begin the defense of its FIM Endurance World Championship title in style.
Riders Gregg Black, Sylvain Guintoli and Xavier Siméon were supreme for the Le Mans-based squad to win the 45th edition of an event that welcomed fans back after two years of COVID-19 restrictions and resulted in a combined attendance of 62,000.
Always quick, always consistent, the trio combined perfectly and never faltered, the only major scare coming when their Bridgestone-equipped Suzuki GSXR-1000 ran short of fuel during a lengthy safety car period late on Saturday afternoon.
Otherwise, it was a result that reflected Yoshimura SERT Motul’s professionalism and meticulous preparation during 24 hours, an approach that was visible up and down the pitlane as tireless human endeavor – mainly by volunteers – took center stage.
“It’s an incredible victory and much harder than last year,said a British-born Frenchman Black, who was able to take the traditional running start despite breaking his heel during the Le Mans Pre-Test last month and set the fastest lap of the race. “The other teams were really, really strong so we had to keep pushing for 24 hours, so the stints were intense, fast and the pace was absolutely incredible. My team-mates did a great job, we’re really happy and proud.”
Yoshimura SERT Motul Team Director Yohei Kato said: “Last year we won the 24 Heures Motos and Bol d’Or and this year we have three 24-hour races. We developed the bike and make our team work focused on the 24 hours, so to achieve this win I am very satisfied with our team, our bike and our riders.”
In addition to the extra 23 points acquired in qualifyingand at the 8th and 16th hours of the race, 40 points were earned for the victory which gave Yoshimura SERT Motul a total of 63 points for the round, eight more than YART and 14 more than third place finishers FCC TSR Honda France.
YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC started the EWC season opener on pole position for the third year running after Karel Hanika set a new lap record during Friday morning’s Second Qualifying session. But when the Yamaha YZF-R1 wouldn’t fire up at the start, the Czech rider joined team-mates Niccolò Canepa and Marvin Fritz in engaging in a heroic charge through the field to finish second, despite the starting issue remaining a hindrance throughout the race.
Mandy Kainz – Yamalube YART Team Manager
“Our target was to get off to a good start for the season. We did not enjoy a great start during the race, but we fought back superbly to ensure we scored as many points as possible, which is the most important thing. It has been a while since we finished a 24-hour race. So, this result gives us confidence with the bike and the team for the rest of the season, especially in the two 24-hour races. The next race is at Spa, and we are ready to take the top step of the podium. I am thrilled because our riders, team, and bike performed perfectly apart from the issue at the start. In 24 hours, not one rider ran off track, we did not have one bad pit stop, and apart from the start, the bike was perfect. We have to be happy, as we are just 8 points behind the leaders and already have more points than the winner of Suzuka will get, so we are happy!”
FCC TSR Honda France, with Mike Di Miglio, Josh Hook and Gino Rea riding, was in front after eight hours, but the squad’s challenge soon unravelled with costly pit-stops required to fix firstly a gear selector issue and then to replace a broken muffler . A ride-through penalty caused further delay, while the team newcomer Rea fell on Sunday morning, but was able to bring the Fireblade back to the pits for repair. Although the delay briefly dropped FCC TSR Honda France out of the podium places, it wasn’t long before the position was reclaimed.
Viltaïs Racing Igol ran as high as third and was in a comfortable fourth place as the best independent outfit when a technical failure led to a heart-breaking exit for the French team.
Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore hit back from delays caused by a broken oil filter to convert its Dunlop Superstock Trophy pole position into the category win in a fine fourth overall with its production-spec Yamaha. However, BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers, National Motos, No Limits Motor Team and Team 33 Louit April Moto all enjoyed spells at the front of the category with the top three often running in close proximity to each other. It was the ultimate advert for the Dunlop Superstock Trophy, which is contested by smaller, lesser funded teams.
No Limits Motor Team eventually finished second in the Dunlop Superstock Trophy in fifth overall following a flurry of late position changes with National Motos next ahead of 33 Louit April Moto. Kawasaki-powered Formula EWC squad Team Bolliger Switzerland took eighth as Pitlane Endurance and Team LH Racing rounded out the top 10.
Myriad delays restricted Tati Team Beringer Racing to P11, while ERC Endurance Ducati’s fightback following a crash when Xavi Forès avoided a backmarker in the seventh hour was slowed by a lengthy pit stop on Sunday.
The Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy is awarded by a jury at every FIM EWC in memory of the sporting spirit of Anthony Delhalle, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team rider who away in March 2017. This year the recipients were Anthony West and his MACO Racing team -mate Enzo Boulom, who completed the 24-hour distance as only a two-rider team.
Wójcik Racing Team was forced to retire its #77 entry following a mechanical failure and an accident. A holed radiator ended BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team’s hopes of what was shaping up to be a strong bid for a podium finish.
Werner Daemen – Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance
“The race was good – until we had a big stone in our radiator. The water was straight out, the oil temperature went up and the engine broke. It was very disappointing for everybody that the race ended that way. For the riders, for the team, the mechanics, they all had worked so hard this winter to prepare the bike. We were very well prepared but this was something that nobody could forese. We have a big protector in front of our radiator but this stone was at least two centimetres big and when it hits the radiator at 260 km/h then nothing helps. This happens, we are very disappointed but we will come back!”
Webike SRC Kawasaki France was had podium hopes of its own but they were dashed when the team was forced to spend more than one hour in the pits during the night.
It was a dramatic start to the race on Saturday when Christophe Seigneur was unable to avoid colliding with a slow-moving Bradley Smith. Seigneur was able to walk back to the pits, but ex-MotoGP rider Smith was taken to hospital for medical checks as a result of the substantial rear impact, having received immediate medical attention at the side of the track when the field circulated under safety car conditions. Smith suffered no serious injuries but will remain in hospital for a period of observation. His team MOTO AIN, worked furiously to repair the damage but with the Yamaha not running in perfect order when it returned and with only two drivers available for the full 24-hour duration, the French outfit made the tough decision to withdraw.
2022 Le Mans 24 Hour Results
- Yoshimura SERT Motul – 840 laps
- YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC – 840 laps
- FCC TSR Honda France – 826 laps
- TEAM 18 SAPEURS POMPIERS CMS MOTOSTORE – 816 laps
- No Limits Motor Team – 816 laps
- NATIONAL MOTOS HONDA – 815 laps
- TEAM 33 LOUIT APRIL MOTO – 813 laps
- Team Bolliger Switzerland #8 – 812 laps
- PITLANE ENDURANCE #86 JP3 – 808 laps
- TEAM LH RACING – 807 laps
- TATI TEAM BERINGER RACING – 806 laps
- BMRT 3D MAXXESS NEVERS – 804 laps
- TEAM UNIVERS RACING MOTOSPORT #23 – 804 laps
- Team LRP Poland – 801 laps
- ERC Endurance Ducati – 798 laps
- ENERGIE ENDURANCE 91 – 797 laps
- Slider Endurance – 789 laps
- WEBIKE SRC KAWASAKI FRANCE – 787 laps
- JMA RACING ACTION BIKE – 786 laps
- ADSS 97 – 785 laps
- TMC 35 PMO – 778 laps
- TEAM RACING 85 BY SOLEANE – 777 laps
- Aprilia Le Mans 2 Roues – 777 laps
- TEAM GT ENDURANCE – 775 laps
- CAM RACING TEAM – 769 laps
- TEAM 202 – 767 laps
- Team Aviobike – 765 laps
- METISS – 761 laps
- JLD CITYBIKE – 761 laps
- FERRE FEURPRIER RACING TEAM – 760 laps
- TEAM PL PERFORMANCES FLEMBBO – 751 laps
- MACO RACING Team – 749 laps
- Moto Sport Endurance – 744 laps
- MANA-AU COMPETITION / LIGUE CONTRE LE CANCER – 740 laps
- TRT 27 / Bazar 2 La Becane – 740 laps
- Kingtyre Fullgas Racing Team – 731 laps
- Atlantic Racing Team – 667 laps
- SIEGNEUR MOTORSPORT Team MONT BLANC – 615 laps
EWC Teams Standings
- Yoshimura SERT Motul – 63
- YART – Yamaha Official Team EWC – 55
- FCC TSR Honda France – 49
- Team Bolliger Switzerland #8 – 35
- TATI TEAM BERINGER RACING – 28
- Team LRP Poland – 26
- ERC Endurance Ducati – 23
- WEBIKE SRC KAWASAKI FRANCE – 22
- TEAM GT ENDURANCE – 15
- VILTAIS RACING IGOL – 13
- MACO RACING Team -12
- Kingtyre Fullgas Racing Team – 10
- Motobox Kremer Racing #65 – 2
- BMW MOTORRAD WORLD ENDURANCE TEAM – 2
- TECMAS – 1
SST Teams Standings
- TEAM 18 SAPEURS POMPIERS CMS MOTOSTORE – 53
- No Limits Motor Team – 50
- NATIONAL MOTOS HONDA – 46
- TEAM 33 LOUIT APRIL MOTO – 44
- PITLANE ENDURANCE #86 JP3 – 30
- TEAM LH RACING – 30
- BMRT 3D MAXXESS NEVERS – 28
- TEAM UNIVERS RACING MOTOSPORT #23 – 18
- Slider Endurance – 14
- ENERGIE ENDURANCE 91 – 13
24H SPA EWC Motos, Belgium, June 2-5
A track as legendary as it is demanding hosts international-level motorbike racing for the first time since 2001 when the 24H SPA EWC Motos revives the spirit of the 24 Heures de Liège, once an EWC calendar mainstay.
The iconic circuit has undergone extensive safety upgrades mandated by FIM and FMB specifically for the EWC’s return. Central to the changes, which have been ratified by the FIA in line with car racing requirements, are expanded run-off areas at several corners, the repositioning of safety barriers in some sections, plus the minor realignment of Turn 9, for bike use only .
2022 FIM Endurance World Championship Calendar
- 24 Heures Motos: 16-17 April 2022
- 24H Spa EWC Motos: 4-5 June 2022
- Suzuka 8 Hours: 7 August 2022
- Bol d’Or: 17-18 September 2022
- 5th Event TBC