Suzuki Wins Le Mans 24 Hour After Yamaha Squanders Huge Lead

The Yoshimura SERT Suzuki team was triumphant for the 10th time at the Le Mans 24 Hour, after the first half of the race was dominated by Yamaha

YART Yamaha, SERT Suzuki, 2024 24H Motos

The 24 Le Mans 24 Hour motorcycle race was won for the 10th time by the Yoshimura SERT Suzuki team last weekend, despite a crash in the first hours of the race.

At the time, it was reported that the crash, suffered by one of the team’s two British-born riders, Greg Black (who rides now under a French flag), was due to a traction control issue. Black was fired over the handlebars on the exit of Les Esse Bleu, and SERT’s chances seemed to be over.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, though, as the sun was rising, Karel Hanika crashed the YART Yamaha R1 on the entry to the same corner Black had crashed at over 10 hours before. YART had built a huge lead by Sunday morning and were multiple laps ahead when Hanika crashed. Being right next to the pit lane, Hanika didn’t lose too much time getting the bike back to the pits, but YART emerged multiple laps behind the leaders and off the podium.

Some strong pace from Marvin Fritz and especially Niccolo Canepa helped YART back onto the podium, but they lost too much time to the factory BMW #37 to get any further than third place.

BMW might have had a shot at the win were it not for a slow stop soon after Hanika’s crash. The time lost there in pit lane granted Suzuki a substantial advantage, one they did not squander. Black, almost 20 hours on from the crash that at the time had seemingly ended SERT’s victory hopes for the 2024 edition of the 24 Heures Motos, rode the final stint for the French team’s 10th victory on the Bugatti Circuit. Etienne Masson and former BSB rider Dan Linfoot were Black’s teammates, both taking their first 24 Heures Motos victory. For Black, it was his third win on the event, after back-to-back successes - also with SERT - in 2021 and 2022.

The Superstock class saw the return of Gino Rea to racing, Le Mans marking his first race since his crash during practice for the 2022 Suzuka 8 Hours which left him in a critical condition. Rea made his return with the Wojcik team, with whom he had made his EWC debut in 2019 before joining the TSR Honda France team in 2022. Unfortunately for the #777 team, they were unable to finish the race.

Also in Superstock, road racing legend Michael Dunlop returned to Le Mans for the first time in over a decade with the TRT27 AZ Moto team alongside former BSB support series regulars Tom Ward, Tom Oliver, and Ben Luxton. Running a Honda CBR1000RR-R, TRT27 was classified 16th overall at the end of the race and seventh in class.

The #55 National Motos Honda - ridden by the Suchet brothers, Sebastien and Valentin, and Guillaume Raymond - was the winner of the Superstock class, and finished fifth overall behind only the factory EWC teams of Suzuki, BMW, Yamaha, and fourth-placed Kawasaki.

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