Three hours from the finish, Yoshimura SERT Motul still have the upper hand on the Paul Ricard circuit. Moto Ain seem firmly established in 2nd place and set for their first EWC podium. Three Superstock teams are battling for 3rd place.
For nearly the past 24 hours, Yoshimura SERT Motul have been in the lead. The only survivor of the factory teams in the limelight in the early stages of the race, the Suzuki team will work on consolidating their position as leader until 3pm with riders Gregg Black, Xavier Simeon and Sylvain Guintoli.
Only a mistake or a mechanical issue could deprive Suzuki of the win, since Moto Ain are 15 laps behind the leader. In the saddle of the independent Yamaha, Randy de Puniet, Robin Mulhauser and Roberto Rolfo have been in the leading pack since the start. A podium will likely reward the effort of the team who are racing their first season in the EWC class after twice winning the FIM Superstock World Cup.
Behind Moto Ain, three Superstock teams are neck and neck in the fight for the 3rd step of the podium. The teams are Kawasaki-mounted BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers (Anthony Loiseau, Jonathan Hardt and Julien Pilot), Suzuki-mounted No Limits Motor Team (Kevin Calia, Luca Scassa and Alexis Masbou), and RAC41 ChromeBurner, the only Honda still in the classification, with riders Chris Leesch, Grégory Fastré and Wayne Tessels.
VRD Igol Experiences are 6th as of midday and 3rd among the Formula EWC teams. Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Nico Terol were in the Top 5 early in the race before they crashed.
Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore (Superstock) should have been among the leaders but engine failure added their name to the long list of teams who have withdrawn. Another high-profile Superstock, National Motos Honda, withdrew because of an oil leak following crashes.
With 3 hours to go for the finish, there are 20 teams left on track. The night-time rain, several crashes and mechanical issues have forced more than half of the field to withdraw. The favourites were not spared. Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, F.C.C. TSR Honda France and YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team all suffered engine failure. ERC Endurance-Ducati withdrew from the race following a crash when they were in 3rd place.
Two other teams who had engine failure were Bolliger Team Switzerland and Wójcik Racing Team. 3ART Best of Bike quit the race with a blocked gearbox after a crash. Team 33 Louit April Moto attempted to continue racing with two riders after Luca Vitali was injured but were forced to throw in the towel.
Original Source [ FIM EWC ]