2021 – 6h Most – ERC Endurance Ducati: First Panigale season ends in P9 in the FIM Endurance World Championship
ERC Endurance Ducati’s first FIM Endurance World Championship season with the Ducati Panigale V4R did end with a final ninth spot in the standings.
With another strong showing at the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship’s final race at the 6 hours of Most, ERC Endurance Ducati secured the ninth spot in the final rankings with Etienne Masson, Lorenzo Zanetti and Mathieu Gines. The trio brought the Ducati Panigale V4R-EWC home in sixth in the final outing of the year.
It was the Endurance’s first visit at the Autodrom Most in Czech republic as the high of the track continues in 2021. The EWC was the second motorbike world championship that took to stage at Most after the FIM WorldSBK had its visit here too. ERC Endurance Ducati did aim high from the beginning.
On Wednesday, promoter Eurosport Events had arranged a further three hours of testing prior to the event and it was for free for the teams.
As it was a double event made out of FIM EWC and the car’s world championship “WTCR”, all official sessions of the bikes were held on Thursday including two Free Practices and two Qualifyings. Friday was a rest day for the Endurance and the final race of the season was held on Saturday.
Etienne Masson (FRA), Lorenzo Zanetti (ITA) and Mathieu Gines (FRA) did qualify in ninth spot on the grid and all three were constantly posting times in the 1:35 minute bracket. The average qualifying time for the trio was a 1:35.501.
As the year’s seasons had advanced and cool temperatures were to be expected, the race only started 11 am local time with around 10 degrees Celsius. Zanetti took the first stint and already was able to close the gap to those fighting for the podium.
Masson and Gines also were able to mix it up front. The team then endured bad luck with two unpredictable Safety Car’s when ERC Endurance Ducati had to come in to stop for fuel whereas the opponents could either stay out or had their stops done shortly before. That costed the team around two-and-a-half minutes which was the missing distance for that elusive first podium.
In the end, the team saw the finish line in sixth in the race and with that secured ninth overall in the first full season of the EWC-spec Ducati Panigale V4R.
Louis Rossi, who had injured himself during the testing sessions for the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet, had to sit out the 6 hours of Most once more. Rossis condition is improving day by day but a return to racing was not possible at the Czech republic. The whole team wishes him a further, speedy recovery.
As for now the plans stand, the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship will open its new season with the 24 heures Motos at Le Mans on 16./17. April 2022.
Etienne Masson – Rider:
“We were able to fight at the top of this race but our consistency triumph was not really to be played out. We are quite happy about this sixth place in the race. Our season was a bit mixed. With the Ducati Panigale V4R we clearly have the tool to fight at the very top but in its first season we were missing some experience at some points too. But if we further fight hard and not give up I am sure we can reach the podium in EWC very soon.”
Lorenzo Zanetti – Rider:
“For me it was the first time I took the start and finish stints and this was a real pleasure and honor for me and it was great fun. Sixth is not a too bad placement and I thank my whole ERC Endurance Ducati and my team mates Mathieu Gines and Etienne Masson.”
Mathieu Gines – Rider:
“I have to say my comeback in the team of ProKasro was a successful one. I already did ride for this squad, when we were still on another manufacturer. Of course, there were some reservations and stereotypies about Ducati in the Endurance world – otherwise everyone would ride one. But from the very first moment I was surprised and thrilled by riding the Ducati Panigale V4R. I am more than sure we can fight for podiums, race wins and World Championship with this bike. To finish in ninth overall is more than alright considering how young and new this whole project and team is.”
Louis Rossi – Rider:
“Unfortunately I was not able to ride at Le Castellet’s Bol d’Or and at Most due to my injury but of course I did follow everything in TV and Live-Timing to see how my ERC Endurance Ducati buddies are performing. Everyone was doing a great job and as we riders had to get used to the Panigale in first, also the team had to learn a lot about how the Ducati Panigale V4R works in the Endurance. For sure we are on a very high level with our tools and we will have the opportunity to get to the podium in 2022 out of our own – without needing ‘help’ from our opponents.”
Frank Hoffmann – Team Manager:
“Sixth at Most is alright even though we were missing the Top-Five by half a minute only. But this has to come because we had to stop once or twice more than our opponents – otherwise we could have fought for the podium with Suzuki and Kawasaki. In the final ranking of the World Championship we got into the Top-Ten and in ninths position overall in our first season on the Ducati Panigale V4R. Not only our riders Etienne, Lorenzo, Mathieu and the injured Louis Rossi did a brilliant job the whole season long, but equally the whole team. We were able to further improve the bike for the needs of Endurance racing and were able to directly transform the learned things to track. We also want to send a big ‘thank you’ to Ducati and Bologna and also to ProKasro as we all work together very hard to succeed.”