FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Jules Cluzel raced to 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, 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 leader 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 12th 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.