FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Jules Cluzel took a pair of very creditable seventh place finishes in today's inaugural Turkish round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit.
Cluzel was flying the flag for the Fixi Crescent Suzuki team following Leon Camier's injury and subsequent withdrawal earlier in the weekend and in race-one the team's only rider finished a commendable seventh after a race-long battle with Davide Giugliano. The pair swapped positions a number of times during the race, before the Suzuki man's rear-grip started to go and he settled for a safe seventh position at the flag.
Race-two took a similar theme as the Frenchman got away with a lead group, but a mistake on lap-five saw him run wide on the first corner and lose the tow. He regrouped before passing Giugliano for seventh and then got involved in a battle to the line with Leon Haslam. Cluzel was passed by the Honda rider, but immediately took the place back and then held on to seventh all the way to the finish by producing some impressive and consistent lap-times on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki was down to one-rider today due to Camier's huge crash and resulting operation on Friday. He was re-admitted to hospital today suffering with dehydration, but is recovering well from this and after-effects of the surgical procedure. Camier plans to return to his home in Andorra tomorrow to begin an intensive rehabilitation routine in a bid to get fit for the last race of the season at Jerez.
Today's races were held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 40°C. Eugene Laverty took victory in both events. FIXI Crescent Suzuki and the rest of the World Superbike field will now head across the Atlantic Ocean for the next round of the championship, which will be held at Laguna Seca in California, America on Sunday September 29th.
"It's been a really interesting weekend as a whole. I was a bit disappointed with the first race because I had the feeling I could fight for fifth place. I fought a bit with the other guys for that position, but at the end I was not able to pass them. For the second race we had a lot more data and had done a lot more laps so we had more information. We made some big changes in the chassis and I felt some differences, but they were not so easy to understand. I made some mistakes in the race and I did some good lap-times, but the really interesting point was the last part of the race: I tried to be calmer and understand how the traction was working and how the bike was different. This helped how to learn how the bike could be better and me also. I think I understand a lot more now and I'm looking forward to the next race because we have more information and I will have time to think about this weekend. I am happy with two seventh places, but I had the feeling we could be stronger. I now need to improve next time!"
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"Jules worked really hard today and rode at a very competitive level; the lap-time gap to the podium guys was not so big, but what cost him the chance to battle for a top-five place was errors in both races - maybe just trying too hard in the wrong places. However, it was very positive that he was able to re-group, re-find his rhythm and also learn a lot about some new electronic settings that he has been working with here in Istanbul. Even if we're a little bit frustrated with the positions, Jules enjoyed riding the bike today and definitely learnt a lot and he is a positive mood for the trip to the USA.
"Leon's ridiculous run of misfortune continues and even after a successful operation he found himself back in hospital today. He had severe dehydration and some nasty after-effects of the surgical process. The update is that he is now resting and being very-well cared-for. Thanks to the medical team at the Anadolu hospital for their continued care and to our colleagues at Doodson Broking Group for their swift and very helpful assistance in getting Leon the best possible care and taking care of arrangements."
Istanbul - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Race One: 1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 34'57.650: 2. Marco Melandri (BMW) +2.009: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +3.432: 4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +3.919: 5. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +15.830: 7. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +16.921.
Istanbul - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Race Two: 1. Laverty 34'58.775: 2. Sykes +1.708: 3. Guintoli +4.052: 4. Melandri +10.860: 5. Toni Elias +12.171: 7. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +17.434.
World Championship Classification: 1. Sykes 323: 2. Guintoli 315: 3. Laverty 297: 4. Melandri 290: 5. Chaz Davies (BMW) 239: 9. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 141: 11 Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 114.