May 24th, 2023
Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar has recruited Grégory Leblanc for its FIM Endurance World Championship attack because he represents “a big force” for the Japanese squad, according to its Team Manager Ryuji Tsuruta.
The multiple EWC race-winning Frenchman replaces Christophe Ponsson for the remainder of the season having switched over from TATI Team Beringer Racing.
His first event with the France-based outfit, restructured for 2023, will be next month’s 24H SPA EWC Motos, in which he was a podium finisher last season riding a TATI-run Kawasaki.
“We are pleased to announce Grégory Leblanc joins our team,” Tsuruta said. “He participated in the Suzuka 8 Hours with our team in the past and is a very much experienced rider in EWC with high potential. We are all happy and excited to welcome him to Team KWT from round two at Spa-Francorchamps. His high potential and knowledge of EWC will be a big force for the team, and he will be a great asset for our aim of winning the EWC championship title.”
Leblanc, 37, is set to partner Randy de Puniet and Kazuki Watanabe on the #11 Kawasaki ZX10RR. He said: “It’s a real pleasure to have this [#11] machine back with which I have a long history and many victories in the past. A big thank you to the whole team of KWT as well as Kawasaki Japan, Europe and France for giving me this opportunity. I would also like to thank the Tati team for these races spent together and I also wish them a good season for the rest of the championship. For me, the story continues at #11. When you don't give up anything you work hard you are always rewarded.”
TATI Team Beringer Racing has yet to announce who will replace Leblanc alongside new-for-2023 signings Baptiste Guittet and Hugo Clere.
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium hosts the second running of the 24H SPA EWC Motos from 16-18 June. Ticket information is available here: https://www.24hspamotos.com/en/ticketing/
May 15th, 2023
The 2023 FIM Endurance World Championship is heading to the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for one of international motorcycle racing’s ultimate high-speed rides next month.
As part of the build-up to the event in Belgium, this is what some of the category’s top talents have had to say on the demanding 6.985-kilometre layout ahead of the 24H SPA EWC Motos taking place from 16-18 June.
Niccolò Canepa, YART Yamaha: “It’s such an amazing track. For sure [last year’s] race was really, really tough but I still have good memories from Spa, being so competitive, so fast to recover so many positions since the beginning of the race when we had a problem. We had a hard day at Spa, a hard night, we were pushing like animals all the time, this was really impressive and this was the race where we showed everybody what we could do.”
Chaz Davies, ERC Endurance Ducati: “It’s cool, it’s one of those boxes you’ve got to tick. Racing at Spa, it’s up there with all the legendary tracks in the world. It’s a hell of a layout, just incredible, it’s fun to ride and it definitely lives up to the hype.”
Geoffroy Dehaye, Motobox Kremer Racing: “It’s very, very exciting. Last year was the first time for me but all the riders like this track. It’s famous, it’s like a mountain course, very fast and long, the Raidillon is so famous, my favourite corner in the world. Spa is a little bit hard at night because it’s so dark but it’s the same for all riders and we have to deal with this. But I love this track, I enjoy a lot to ride there, especially when you are at fifth gear in full throttle.”
Randy de Puniet, Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar: “The track is quite incredible, honestly it’s the best circuit in the world. It’s the perfect track for the EWC. I enjoy every part of this circuit, even the chicane and the hairpin.”
Mike Di Meglio, F.C.C. TSR Honda France: “It’s a special track but the conditions can be quite tough because it can rain in some parts of the track and in one part it can be dry. You need to respect this track and you need to go there before to understand well because there are many fast corners.”
Kevin Manfredi, Wójcik Racing Team: “It’s incredible, it’s another track, it’s not similar to the others. It’s similar to the rollercoaster and it’s very fast.”
Philipp Steinmayr, Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore: “The track is awesome and I simply love it. There are so many special corners here and when I rode Eau Rouge for the first time it was amazing, a really special corner.”
Markus Reiterberger, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “Coming to Spa is always special. The Tarmac is so nice, I really love it. It’s just amazing with so much grip, so stable.”
KEY TIMINGS RECAP:
Thursday 15 June:
16h00-18h30, Malmedy parade and autograph signing session
Friday 16 June:
10h00-11h00, Free Practice
12h00-14h00, First Qualifying
15h15-17h15, Second Qualifying
21h00-23h00, Night Practice
Saturday 17 June:
14h00, Start of 24H SPA EWC Motos
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