The Belgian racer and former MotoGP rider will be in the saddle of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team bike starting from the 24 Heures Motos, the next FIM EWC race on 18 and 19 April at Le Mans. He joins Etienne Masson and Gregg Black at the factory Suzuki team, who currently top the championship standings.
Vincent Philippe’s announcement a few months ago that he would be retiring from racing freed up a spot in SERT’s rider line-up. Suzuki France and Damien Saulnier, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s new team manager, have chosen Belgian rider Xavier Simeon to join Frenchmen Etienne Masson and Gregg Black in the saddle of the Suzuki #2.
Their 2019 Bol d’Or win and 5th-place finish at the 8 Hours of Sepang in December have put Suzuki Endurance Racing Team at the top of the 2019-2020 FIM EWC provisional standings. The factory Suzuki team have so far claimed 15 world crowns, but their last title dates to 2016.
Xavier Simeon is all set to shore up the team seeking to once again lift the world crown. The Belgian rider proved very quick in 2019 in the saddle of the VRD Igol Pierret Experiences Yamaha, and features among the 10 fastest riders of the paddock.
After winning the Superstock 1000 World Cup in 2009, Xavier Simeon was a Moto2 front-runner from 2010 to 2017, moving up to MotoGP in 2018. He made a brief foray into the EWC as a Suzuki Endurance Racing Team stand-in rider at the 2008 24 Heures Motos.
Xavier Simeon, SERT rider“In 2008, I hadn’t really thought about getting into endurance racing. I was a Superstock rider with Suzuki Alstare and Dominique Méliand suggested I come in as fourth rider at Le Mans and the Bol d’Or. I accepted because SERT has always been close to my heart and the quintessential endurance racing team in my view – my dad rode for them back in the day. SERT has made endurance racing history, but my current commitment to the team is totally different. When Damien and Suzuki France made me the offer, I jumped at it. SERT is the number one team and joining them is a fantastic opportunity for me. I can contribute my speed, but my two teammates are equally fast and experienced. So it’ll be up to me learn from them about managing an endurance race to get the win.”
Damien Saulnier, team manager of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team“Xavier’s experience racing Moto2 and MotoGP will give us fresh impetus. His ability to analyse the bike and his experience as a development rider with Dunlop are another two plus points. He knows Etienne and Gregg very well, so it’ll be an exciting adventure.”
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s new three-rider line-up will be on the track in Spain in mid-February for their first round of testing in 2020.