The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R number 11 machine headed the race from start to finish and set a new race record with 808 laps completed.
The team Kawasaki SRC machine took an early grasp of the race when, in practice, Grégory Leblanc set the best lap overall putting his Ninja, shared with Kawasaki World Superbike star Loris Baz and debutant rider, Jeremy Guarnoni, on pole position.
Ahead of the chasing pack from the opening hour – and using Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres throughout - the three riders made a super-human effort to secure the top step of the podium in the world famous race that is equally gruelling for man and machine.
Leblanc proved that qualifying was no chance happening by being consistently the fastest rider on track and setting the top lap individual time with a terrific 1’40’’663 circulation. As emphatic as this was, it was matched by a winning margin that saw the team a whole nine laps ahead as they crossed the finishing line.
At the end of the race, Gilles Stafler of the SRC team was full of praise for such a historic success.
Gilles Stafler : "I’m really delighted tonight because we made the perfect race. The riders did a fantastic job and showed that they were young yet professional. The team didn’t make any mistakes during the race and pitstop and this new distance record shows how strong we were."
Grégory Leblanc : "A second win in a row it’s just fantastic. We made the perfect race an it’s a great pleasure to share this victory with the team Kawasaki SRC and with Loris and Jeremy of course. Tonight I’m sore but finally it’s a sweet feeling".
Jeremy Guarnoni : What can I say ? It’s just fantastic. For my first time in a factory team I climb on the top spot. For sure it may have been predicted but racing it’s not always easy. I’m really proud of what we achieved and, at the end, I can say that we took the victory that we deserved.
Loris Baz on loan from the Kawasaki World Superbike team said: “The Bol was amazing. We knew we had a really good bike and a really good team. Even in road racing it is impossible to say that for sure you will win but in a 24-hour race it is even more impossible, because anything can happen. We made a good start and we were in front from the beginning. Really soon all the other favourite teams started having problems; it ended up as three teams fighting for the win. Racing at night was hard, when you have to keep pushing and concentrating at the same time. That is why I like Endurance racing. At one time you have to push really hard, then take more care, then push again. There is a lot of thinking involved. There was a lot of media attention because this is a really big race. We are the youngest ever team to win the Bol d’Or. Endurance is something special because anything can happen it is really a team race. There are a lot of emotions when you win because you are fighting and working all through the 24 hours, so you have to make a lot of good things happen.”
Pictures courtesy of Pirelli.