Cluzel Earns 7th and 6th at a Sunny Laguna Seca
World Superbike - Monterey, CA
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel raced to a superb sixth position and what he regards as his best weekend performance of the season so far at today’s second eni FIM Superbike World Championship race from Laguna Seca in America.
Starting from eighth on the grid, Cluzel got a good start and had moved up into sixth by lap-three and on to the back of the hard-charging front pack. The Frenchman continued to push on – even setting the fastest lap of the race at one point on lap-four - and stayed in contention with the podium places for the majority of the race. He recorded fast and consistent laps as he continued to improve on his first visit to the 3,610m American circuit. Cluzel was delighted with this weekend’s performance and is determined to take his form forward into his home race in France next week.
Blake Young again gave a very good performance on his debut weekend onboard the Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R, as he stood in for the injured Leon Camier. Young was 17th at the end of the first lap, but steadily made his way through the field as he grew in confidence. He made several passes before eventually getting up into 12th on lap-20. His performance in the latter part of the race was especially pleasing for the whole team as he recorded lap-times that were on-a-par with everyone above him in the classification, with the exception of the top-six riders.
Today’s race was again held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures hitting 42°C, leading to a tight battle to the line which saw Eugene Laverty on an Aprilia take the victory, with championship leader Tom Sykes coming home fourth to strengthen his lead at the top of the title race. Today’s results also saw the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team move into fourth-place in the World Superbike Team Standings.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki and the rest of the World Superbike field will now make an immediate return to Europe as the whole paddock heads across the Atlantic to France for the penultimate event of the season, which will take place at Magny-Cours next Sunday.
“I made a good start and a good first lap so I was able to catch up with the leading group and I was very happy about that. I enjoyed the first part of the race because I was one of the fastest guys out there; it was only the last corner to the first turn – across the start-finish line – that I was losing any time. This stopped me getting a good chance to fight for a podium, but it was still a good race and I think this has been my best weekend on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki so far this season. Laguna Seca is not an easy circuit, but I learned quite quickly and I really enjoyed it. I feel quite proud to have made this kind of result and many thanks to the whole team because they made a great job here and we had solid and consistent results.”
“I have had a really great weekend, but I’m a little bit disappointed I didn’t get into the 1’24s, the guys worked super-hard and I would have liked to have gone a bit better for them. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki team has been great and what we ended up with at the end of the day was all smiles! We improved the lap-time from yesterday – which was good – and we had the same position so we can’t really complain about that. I would have been good to be a bit further up, but it seemed we were getting there slowly, but surely, but at the end we just ran out of time. I want to thank all the guys on the team, Paul and everybody involved for giving me this opportunity to come out here and ride again – it’s been great!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Sixth and twelfth are not our best results of the season, but I am particularly happy with the efforts of both the team and the riders made today and the huge improvements we made compared to yesterday’s race. If we forget Silverstone, I think today was Jules’s best race of the year, based on his lack of circuit knowledge, the fact that it is a very physical track and that we expected the nature of the track not to suit our bike especially well. We finished today the same gap from the winner after 26-laps that we did yesterday after 12-laps and only missed 0.3 seconds average on each lap to be right at the front – it was a great effort from Jules and his crew.
“Blake has fitted in with the team really well and despite not having a full-time ride this year he has clearly maintained his fitness and his level improved every time he went out on track. Two 12th places are probably better than what we would have expected and his lap-times in the second-half of today’s races were comparable with everybody outside the top-six. It’s been fun to have him in the team and I’d like to thank him for his efforts.”
Laguna Seca – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Race Two:
1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 36’44.555: 2. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +0.112: 3. Marco Melandri (BMW) +2.051 4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +2.304: 5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +2.959: 6. JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +10.187: 12. BLAKE YOUNG (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +29.563:
World Championship Classification:
1. Sykes 361: 2. Laverty 338: 3. Guintoli 337: 4. Melandri 319: 5. Chaz Davies (BMW) 259: 10. JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 160: 11. LEON CAMIER (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 114: 26. BLAKE YOUNG (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 8:
Saturday, September 28 / Day 1:
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Jules Cluzel finally took an impressive seventh place finish in today’s first eni FIM Superbike World Championship race at Laguna Seca in America at the third time of asking following two race stoppages.
The new World Superbike timetable meant that a race was run on a Saturday at this event in America and it turned out that it became even more eventful than scheduled as the 26-lap race had three starts following a series of incidents that caused two red-flags. Race one was stopped after six completed laps when a bike crashed into the safety barrier, causing a puncture in one of the air fences that surrounds the 3,610m Laguna Seca circuit. The race was stopped and a re-start ordered for the remaining 20-laps. This too was then red-flagged for a similar incident, leading to a third start that would be over 12-laps. Cluzel began the race from eighth on the grid – the position he occupied when the previous race was stopped – and by lap-three he had moved up to seventh, but in those first couple of laps he had lost a lot of time and was unable to close the gap on the top-six. He rode a lonely race for the remaining laps, but kept a steady and consistent pace to consolidate his position and believes the data he gathered from today’s truncated race will help him in tomorrow’s 26-lap event.
Blake Young gave a good account of himself on his FIXI Crescent Suzuki debut, as a replacement rider for the injured Leon Camier. Young was able to benefit from the stoppages as it enabled him to continue to make small adjustments to his machine and get more opportunities of race-starting his Suzuki GSX-R. In the third version of race one, Young started from 13th on the grid – and improvement on his qualifying position of 17th – and then chased down and passed the Factory Honda mounted Superbike regular Michel Fabrizio to move into 12th place, a position he held to the flag. Young was pleased with his efforts and believes that today will give him more confidence ahead of Sunday’s race.
Today’s proceedings took place in brilliant sunshine under clear blue skies with air temperatures rising to 27°C. Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes took the victory to increase his lead at the top of the championship. Tomorrow will see the second race of the weekend get underway at 14.00hrs local time (22.00hrs BST), when both the FIXI Crescent Suzuki boys will be looking to make further improvements and push for better results.
“In this morning’s Superpole we improved the feeling of the bike quite a lot and the only problem that I had in the three sessions was that I had no qualifying tyre for the final session, so I couldn’t push to improve my time. The qualifiers didn’t actually work that well for us and I did my fastest lap-time with a race tyre anyway. I was quite happy, but still had some questions about where we could improve, but the good thing about today was the three starts for the race because we were able to try different things each time. In the first part it was not very good and I was not really happy, but in race two we improved the lap-times and things felt easier, although I was losing the front a lot, so in the third outing we improved that, but it made some other problems for us! We do have some good data now and I think we can improve more tomorrow. I lost maybe two-seconds in the first two-laps of the final race – maybe more – and I couldn’t catch the first group, but I didn’t lose any more time to the guys that were in front of me, I could still see them so I was happy with that. I think we have some good things to improve and that these won’t be too difficult to improve on.”
“As the guys in the team would say ‘it was quite lovely today!’. Seriously though it has been a great experience and I’m happy to be out on the racetrack on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R – I feel at home on it already. The race worked out more in my favour than it probably ever could have with all the red flags. You never like to see them because it means that people could possibly be hurt, but it seemed like all the guys got up and were fine. Those red flags gave us time to make adjustments to the bike and with every one we made the motorcycle better. I was so happy with the job the crew did today and I can’t thank them enough. All the guys here on the team would obviously like a better result – and so would I – but we’ll take 12th today and see if we can improve on it tomorrow.”
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
“Today was the first time that World Superbikes tried the Saturday race format and it was certainly eventful! Both of our guys did very solid jobs in all three of the race starts and it worked well for Blake who had the opportunity to stop and consider the setting on the GSX-R and how he could adapt it further to suit his style as he became more familiar with the bike.
“The final result of seventh for Jules was well deserved and for a Superbike rookie on his first visit to Laguna, the team is very pleased with his efforts. We’re only missing a tiny amount to be able to run with the top-six group and hope we can work on the setting and maybe the tyre choice to make the bike a bit easier for him. Based on the potential Jules showed today we’ll give it the very best shot we can.”
Laguna Seca – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Race One:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 16’55.703: 2. Chaz Davies (BMW) +1.253: 3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +2.454: 4. Marco Melandri (BMW) +2.650: 5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +3.430: 7. JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +9.134: 12. BLAKE YOUNG (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +21.767:
World Championship Classification:
1. Sykes 348: 2. Guintoli 326: 3. Laverty 313: 4. Melandri 303: 5. Davies 259: 9. JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 150: 11. LEON CAMIER (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 114: 28. BLAKE YOUNG (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 4:
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