Poorly rewarded for their efforts
Suzuka, Japon, August 7th 2023 - Fifth after an hour of racing, the Webike Trickstar Kawasaki team held on to the top ten for much of the race before finally taking the chequered flag in thirteenth position.
Still in the process of restructuring, the Webike Trickstar Kawasaki team expected to suffer at Suzuka against a host of Japanese teams racing on home turf. For the occasion, Ryuji Tsuruta decided to swap his Pirellis for Bridgestones, always a good option at the Japanese track. “Unfortunately, we had to make do with standard tyres," regretted Randy de Puniet after setting the fastest time in practice and placing the #11 bike twelfth on the grid. “It's logical that Bridgestone reserves its development tyres for teams that have a contract with the brand.” The Kawasaki Webike Trickstar riders didn’t let that discourage them, however.
Fifth at the end of the first hour, eighth at the halfway point, the #11 Kawasaki finished the third round of the EWC championship in thirteenth position. “When you see that the FCC Honda finished fourth and that we had a one-lap advantage over them, you can't help but have regrets," commented Gregory Leblanc. “Thirteenth wasn't the place we were aiming for. We thought we'd finish between five and ten... We riders have nothing to reproach ourselves for. We didn't make any mistakes this weekend. Unfortunately, we broke a bolt on the rear shock linkage and in my second stint I had a problem with the fuel pump. Those two minor technical problems meant we lost five laps on the leaders. But we have to stay positive and prepare as well as we can for the Bol d'Or.”