Team Kawasaki SRC proved the worth of the new ZX-10R at one of the most challenging races of 2016 – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the opening round of the 2016 FIM World Endurance Championship.And the team of Gregory Leblanc, Matthieu Lagrive and Fabien Foret showed absolutely zero remorse; the three-rider team lead 680 laps of the Le Mans endurance race, finishing nine laps ahead of April Moto Motors Events (Suzuki GSX-R1000) and F.C.C. TSR Honda (CBR1000RR).
Due to rain during testing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, teams didn’t get much time to fully prep for the race. Besides this, Team Kawasaki SRC had a scare when Leblanc had a small crash at the beginning of the race on the still-damp track.He quickly regained his rhythm on the Pirelli-shod ZX-10R Ninja, and went on to beat the lap record 12 times. This was Leblanc’s fifth win at 24 Hours of Lemans, equaling the record held by Alex Viera, and Kawasaki now has a a record number wins at Le Mans with 13.Kawasaki had a clear advantage at night – despite the freezing weather. Kawasaki SRC Team Manager Gilles Stafler attributed much of the performance on the Pirelli tires: “Our Pirelli tyres work particularly well on a cold track.”Leblanc agreed: “I really want to thank Pirelli, because they gave us the tires we needed to tackle very cold track conditions. We had grip even at night.”Further talking about the race, Stafler said: “We couldn’t have hoped for a better start with the new ZX-10R. Now we’ll have to get back to work. We still need to fine-tune the electronics; we’re only using 75 to 80%.”Team Kawasaki SRC now has 65 points, 15 ahead of Aprili Moto Motors Events and 16 ahead of TSR Honda.The four-round FIM World Endurance Championship continues at Portimao for the 12 Hours of Portimao June 11.
Kawasaki SRC Wins 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans – Photo Gallery
This Podcast is also brought to you by the new modular helmet from Schuberth, the C5. The C5 blends safety with light weight and amazing quietness. Visit Schuberth.com for more information.
This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!