12 Hours of Estoril: World Endurance finale race weekend preview| WorldSBK staff | World News
With all FIM World Endurance title favourites in a tight group at the top of the championship standings, this weekend’s finale at Estoril is set to be a high-octane clash.
The 12-hour race is due to start 8.30am local time (which is the same as the UK) on Saturday 26 September.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team get to the 12 Hours of Estoril as sole leader. But the points up for grabs at the 2019-2020 FIM-EWC season finale leave the factory Suzuki team exposed to attacks from the seven other teams seeking to claim the world title.
Among these rivals is a tight group of four factory teams: F.C.C. TSR Honda France, YART Yamaha, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar. With a seven-point gap separating these teams, their fight will be a particularly fierce one.
They will be all the more competitive because they have nothing to lose in the finale. They all have the same objective: the win and the world title.
Wójcik Racing Team, who have just done a trial run at Estoril, VRD Igol Pierret Experiences and 3ART Best of Bike are also in the pack of rivals galvanized by a chance at the world championship title and podium.
A smaller grid, but an intense battle
The finale of the 2019-2020 FIM EWC season – thrown into disarray by the global pandemic – will feature only 23 teams. But these teams have lost none of their motivation.
ERC Endurance will undoubtedly be one of the teams in the spotlight. Although the factory Ducati team are no longer in the running for the title, they are targeting their first win with riders Louis Rossi, Mathieu Gines and Sylvain Barrier.
Swiss team Bolliger Team Switzerland will be extremely keen to shine for their founder Hanspeter Bolliger. After 38 years at the helm, “Hämpu” will be overseeing his last race before the handover to his son Kevin.
In the Superstock class, the absence of French team Moto Ain’s main competitor GERT56 by GS Yuasa lessens the suspense around the FIM Endurance World Cup win. But Italy’s No Limits Motor Team are still in a position to wrest the Cup from Moto Ain. Wójcik Racing Team 2 and JMA Motos Action Bike will also be playing for the top spots in the Superstock world standings.