Team Suzuki Press Office – May 11. FIXI Crescent Suzuki racers Jules Cluzel and Leon Camier will start side-by-side on the third row of the grid after the pair qualified for tomorrow’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship races in seventh and eighth places respectively at Monza in Italy today.
The duo made their way through to Superpole on the back of yesterday’s times from the first qualifying session after very heavy overnight rain left the track still damp in parts for this morning’s final qualifying. In Superpole 1 the FIXI Crescent Suzuki riders comfortably progressed through to the next session as Camier logged the eighth fastest time with team-mate Cluzel in ninth. Superpole 2 saw the excitement ramp up as Cluzel blasted to the second quickest time with a lap of 1’41.936 – narrowly missing out on the previous best lap of Monza which was 1’41.745 – and recorded a top-speed of 331.4km/h down the finishing straight to secure his place in the final shoot-out, where he was joined by Camier who posted the ninth best time.
For the first time this season Cluzel and Camier lined up together in Superpole 3 on their Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-Rs, with the Frenchman taking the inter-team honours by securing sixth on the grid, with his English colleague taking his place alongside him on the third-row by finishing seventh. The pair will now be looking for a good start in tomorrow’s races to make sure they get away with the front group for what promises to be a fast and gruelling double-header.
Today’s Superpole was held in bright sunshine with track temperatures reaching 48°C around the 5,777m Italian circuit. Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki took pole-position to record a hat-trick of Superpole victories for the season so far.
Cluzel and Camier will prepare for battle in the first of tomorrow’s 18-lap races at 12.00 local time (11.00hrs BST) and then be on the grid again at 15.00hrs local time (14.00hrs BST) for race two.
“I am really happy because this has been the first time I have smiled on the bike this weekend! This morning was really difficult with the conditions, as yesterday was the first time on a Superbike on this really fast circuit, so I had to learn braking points and how to ride round the really fast corners that are here, which is not so easy for a rookie, and this morning we couldn’t go any quicker because of the conditions. The crew have given me something good this weekend and have worked really hard to get the FIXI Crescent Suzuki set-up for this track, so I want to say a big thanks to them. This was a good thing because it made me smile and I want to do that every time I go out on the bike – this is why we race! Tomorrow will be really tough as I’m still not 100% comfortable, but I think we are finding a good direction and maybe we can improve a bit more in both races.”
“It’s been a frustrating day more than anything, as I never really got the best out of the qualifiers. It felt like a bit of a surprise with how much grip they had and I never quite got the benefit from it. This annoyed me more than anything, because in Superpole 3 I used a race tyre and did some fast and consistent laps, but felt like I wanted another go on a qualifier to try and get the best out of it, but it-is-what-it-is and I can’t change it now! I’ll try and get a good start in the races tomorrow, sit in the slip-stream to try and make sure I don’t lose the tow from the guys in front and then see what happens as the races progress.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“I think we have to be happy with seventh and eighth in qualifying here at Monza, a circuit that the team really struggled at last year. This season’s FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 was doing as much as 15km/h more down the straight than it was last year and that – combined with a better overall package – is allowing Jules and Leon to be a lot closer to the top Factory bikes. There is no doubt it will be a long and very tough race tomorrow, the top three or four look like they have a bit more pace than everybody else, but as ever, being there on the first lap or two, being involved and trying to get dragged along will hopefully see us in the fight!”
Monza – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole 3: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’41.223: 2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +0.078: 3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.319: 4. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.575: 5. Marco Melandri (BMW) +0.596. 7. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +1.457. 8. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +1.585.