With fifteen FIM EWC titles to its name heading into the 2019/2020 campaign, Suzuki’s pedigree in the competition was unquestionable – and their hunger for success was as high as ever with the team’s last championship coming in 2016.
The title drought would come to an end after four closely contested rounds in a championship season that was stretched out for over a year due to COVID-19 restrictions, beginning in September 2019 with the legendary Bol d’Or twenty-four-hour race at France’s Paul Ricard Circuit.
The Suzuki trio of French pairing Etienne Masson and Vincent Philippe and British-born Gregg Black – who has spent his entire racing career in France – got off to a flying start with victory at the Bol d’Or, although they finished off the podium at round two. Billed as the Sepang Eight Hours, the Malaysian event in mid-December 2019 was cut to just three hours because of heavy rain with the Yamaha team emerging on top ahead of Honda and BMW.
With Philippe replaced by Belgium’s Xavier Simeon for round three’s epic twenty-four-hour race at Le Mans in France over eight months after Sepang, the Suzuki team returned to the podium in third behind Honda and Kawasaki and then sewed up the title ahead of Yamaha and Honda with fourth in September’s twelve-hour season finale at Estoril in Portugal.
FIM Endurance Team World Champion x 16