ERC Endurance Ducati: At Le Mans amongst the quickest

ERC Endurance Ducati: At Le Mans amongst the quickest

Le Mans, France. The ERC Endurance Ducati with its riders Randy de Puniet, Julien da Costa and Louis Rossi did deliver a strong performance at this year’s 24 hours Le Mans Motos being amongst the quickest teams on track only lacking the bonus of a good result. With some technical issues, the team had to withdraw from the race after 15 hours. 

The start was taken by Randy de Puniet from P5, going cautious in this race as Endurance is not won on the first lap. The former MotoGP rider dropped to 19th in the first lap but then boosted his Ducati Panigale V4R to wrestle through the field and soon earning third spot. 

At the end of his first stint, a minor issue with the fuel injection appeared, so the French rider had to push the bike back to the pits to hand it over to his colleagues – and another hunt through the field was the plan. The ERC Endurance Ducati was back into the top 10, when the rain arrived and would now stay for bringing permanent mixed dry-wet-dry-wet conditions. But ERC Endurance soon was back in the hunt for a podium spot. During the night, the weather had stabilized and a dry track was making for strong performances of all three riders. 

However, around 3 o’clock and after 470 laps and some 15 hours race time, the team had to retire due to issues with the exhaust system and an electronic failure that could not be repaired on site. 

Still, the 24 heures Motos at Le Mans were a partial success of ERC Endurance on its way to the sharp end of the Endurance World Championship. All three riders permanently delivered times of the leading teams and showed podium pace during all sessions and the race. Furthermore, a lot of valuable and useful data was collected, to make the next step with the EWC Ducati Panigale V4R bike for the future. 

ERC Endurance also earned two more World Championship points at Le Mans due to the special awards after Qualifying and eight hours racing time. 

On 26th September 2020, next up for ERC Endurance Ducati will be the 12 hours of Portugal. The race at the Circutio de Estoril near the capital of Lisbon will also be the grand finale of the 2019/2020 FIM Endurance World Championship.

Randy de Puniet:
We are leaving Le Mans with mixed feeling: Of course we are disappointed to not make it to the finish line but we are having a lot of positive things to look at. Clearly we showed the potential of the EWC-spec Ducati Panigale V4R, mixing it up at the front. We also stayed in the race for 15 hours almost trouble free. As said before, it is a very new project and it was the first proper test for the material and concerning that, it was not even big problems we had. We all know: no one comes to show up in Endurance racing and is leading straight away – it is a big learning curve and we progressed a lot on that during the weekend.

Julien da Costa:
With those conditions it was a very difficult race but still we could show or potential. When I was leaving the pits for one of my stints, I had a small crash – I did not even touch the brake or roll the throttle and still the bike slid away underneath me. This only shows how slippery and difficult it was out there and I want to apologize for this spill to my team. It is a pity we did not make it to the finish line, but all in all this weekend was highly motivative for the rest of the season and the whole future of this project. 

Louis Rossi:
Le Mans always is very special to me as I could walk to the track more or less – pity there were no fans this time! In the race we clearly showed we have the pace and potential to fight for the podium on our Ducati Panigale V4R. Even my fastest race lap could not be matched for a long time into the race. At the end unfortunately we had to retire early but those are things you can not plan on but for sure we will learn from them. The weekend in general was big fun and we could clearly prove: The ERC Endurance Ducati Panigale V4R has a bright future ahead.

Uwe Reinhardt – Team owner:
There is absolutely no need to hide for this weekend for us. Of course it is a shame we did not see the finish line in the end, but the whole lot positives are making up for that. We have been around the sharp end in all test and qualifying sessions and Randy, Julien and Louis had the pace of the leading pack during the race. It was our second EWC race in this new project and Saturday/Sunday have been those days we rode as long as never before. We knew there would be come teething trouble that a normal test would not bring up, but that’s what we expected and is part of the game. Overall we are satisfied how the weekend progressed and about the base we found for the upcoming races. I am absolutely convinced it will not be long until our Ducati Panigale V4R will be fighting not only for podiums, but also for race wins and titles in the Endurance World Championship.

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