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Cluzel improves at Phillip Island test
|Tuesday, 19 February 2013 20:52|
FIXI Crescent Suzuki has finished its pre-season preparations for the 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship as testing drew to a close at Phillip Island in Australia today.
Jules Cluzel made good progress during this afternoon's practice and his times steadily improved as he continued to understand his full-blown Superbike. He had recorded a best time of 1'32.044 - almost 0.8 seconds better than yesterday - during his 16-completed laps, but a fast high-side crash on the last corner ended his session early and curtailed any chance he had of reducing his times further. Cluzel was uninjured in the accident, but his machine sustained heavy damage and could not be repaired in-time for him to return to the action. His time today was good enough to give him 11th position overall in the combined times from the two-day test.
After a sharp downpour soaked the 4,445m circuit, this morning's first session produced very little action with just a few riders venturing out on track. Leon Camier was one that stayed in the garage and waited until conditions improved for this afternoon. He used the second session to complete the comprehensive test schedule the team had set and concentrating on fine-tuning individual elements of the machine. These four days of testing in Australia have proved very fruitful for Camier as he has led the timesheets on two of the three days and was second on another. His best time of 1'31.814 from today's 28-laps gave him 10th in the standings, but his fastest time from yesterday meant that he finished the test in third in the overall classification. Today's quickest time was set by Carlos Checa on a Ducati.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now have two days to get its final planning into place before the season starts for real when the first day of practice for the Australian round of the championship begins on Friday.
"We improved this afternoon and the feeling was much better with the front. We tried a different rear tyre and the feeling also improved, but on lap three I lost the rear on the last corner. I don't know why it happened and it's difficult to explain because I was little bit slower and with less throttle. I think the asphalt is really strange here and I am continuing to learn this the hard way! I have no feeling for it, so we have to continue to find some and stop the crashes, because they have been all the same. I have lost the rear and we need to understand why this is happening. I hope we can improve something in the race weekend, because my feeling for the bike is becoming more positive."
"I just kept things really steady today to be honest! This morning was drizzling, so we didn't even make a lap and this afternoon we just had a few small things to try. We tested the harder tyres to see how long they would last and which would be the best tyre to run, if it is colder on race-day. We just cruised around really and didn't try to go for any lap-times this afternoon, it was all about confirming a few things and making sure the bike's feeling was right."
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"On Leon's side today was a little bit meaningless, because we just had some checks to run through this afternoon and confirm which rear tyre is most suited to the colder temperature. Leon didn't push hard at all and we're very comfortable that the pace shown in the unofficial test and yesterday is where we're at, which is right up with the fastest guys. Leon and his crew are now looking forward to the motivation of the race weekend and getting right back to the sharp end on Friday.
"For Jules this morning was a write-off due to the conditions, but this afternoon was a good opportunity to take the next steps in his understanding of the GSX-R Superbike and regaining his confidence. He certainly did that, improving significantly in lap-time and getting a consistent rhythm. Unfortunately he got caught out on the last corner and the bike pitched him over the handlebars. He is 100% ok, and I really can't blame him for the accident; this new Phillip Island surface has a very unpredictable nature in terms of understanding the levels of grip and the data clearly shows that Jules was not pushing overly aggressively. The team will do everything it can to set the bike to provide more feedback at the limits and start again on Friday morning."
Phillip Island Official Test Day Two Classification: 1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1'31.059: 2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'31.237: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'31.26: 4. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1'31.350: 5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1'31.356. 10. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'31.814: 11. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'32.044.
Article source: Team Suzuki Press Office