Current world champion holder in endurance, Xavier Simeon will be the local hero of the 24Hr SPA EWC Motos, where he will be riding at home for his first time. Obviously he knows the track having spent countless hours there.

But that did not stop him feeling a certain emotion during the test contested in mid-May. Because “as a Belgian rider, it was quite emotional for me to ride on this track for the first time in my career with an official motorcycle”, he confides.

As a major professional, the SERT rider nevertheless had  “to force myself to separate out this emotion so as to remain concentrated in my role as a rider.”

This element will be crucial for the success of his weekend: “It was really about not putting too much pressure on myself in order to ensure proper performance in the full programme fixed for these two test days, and I will have to make sure I have the same mindset for the week of racing.”

All the riders that discovered Spa-Francorchamps on the 17 and 18 May declare they are enchanted, such as Randy de Puniet. Xavier Simeon is not surprised. “This track at Spa is magnificent, particularly with the new turn called  ‘Speaker Corner’, created for motorcycles. The numerous run-offs and new gravel traps also allow us to ride with an increased feeling of safety, and we take a lot of pleasure in searching for the limit. Truly it’s a circuit that’s unique in the world where we are often at full speed with a lot of hills and drops, and that gives rise to exceptional sensations. Apart from braking at the chicane and the corner of La Source, it is very fast all the time!”

The two driving days were used for the benefit of the SERT team who, “did tremendous work. We must know that this demanding track requires a frame or chassis that is perfectly tuned”, he explains. “With Gregg Black and  Sylvain Guintoli, my two team mates, we have defined the satisfactory tunings that will allow us to perform well in each part of the circuit. I have already benchmarked the strategic places for going fast, but I don’t want to say where in order not to give away any advantages to my competitors!”

The Belgian had the chance to observe “a fierce competition”, and expects that the  24Hr SPA EWC Motos will be strongly contested. “Timings are super tight for a track that is so long. All the official machines are holding together in less than a second, which promises a major tussle where the smallest error risks being very expensive. It will be necessary to find a good compromise between speed and steady pace, while hoping that the weather conditions are as good as during these tests.”

Xavier Simeon stops himself from talking about victory and to making forecasts, “because that can bring bad luck. But we will do our utmost to make as many points as possible so we can retain our position as leaders of the general classification”, promises the recent winner of the 24 Hours Motorcycles of Le Mans. What he hopes for most of all is that it is a good festival: “I hope the public will come out in huge numbers to encourage us. That would be a good reward for the Circuit, which has made enormous investments so that we can enjoy a lovely event.”

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