Team Suzuki Press Office – May 10. FIXI Crescent Suzuki racers Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel made a confident start to this weekend’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Monza as both riders finished inside the top-10 in the opening qualifying session.
With this morning’s first free practice session virtually a total wash-out due to heavy showers over the 5,777m Italian circuit, it was imperative that Camier and Cluzel made the most of this afternoon’s dry session. Camier was up as high as fourth in the standings, with only a short time to go in the qualifying, but had to pit with a braking issue. He lost out on a higher-placed finish as other riders recorded quicker times than the Englishman in the final few minutes, leaving Camier in ninth place.
Cluzel is making his first appearance at Monza on a Superbike and acquitted himself well to the extra performance of the Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R. The Frenchman made consistent improvements throughout the session and is convinced he can make further steps tomorrow. He ended the day in 10th and a provisional place in tomorrow’s Superpole.
Today’s conditions at Monza saw heavy rain and bright sunshine affect the day’s proceedings, which led to this afternoon’s sessions all being delayed as the track was allowed to dry for safety reasons. Local Italian favourite Marco Melandri on a BMW posted today’s’ fastest time.
Camier and Cluzel will have a second qualifying session tomorrow morning to confirm their places in the afternoon’s Superpole, to give them the chance to battle for the best grid positions.
“I’m not particularly comfortable with the bike at the moment; there are a few strong points with it and a few things that we can work on to get it better. I think there could be a bit of a split in the group on race day and we will have to work hard to try and be in the main one. My knee is very sore today, as it’s the first time I’ve ridden since the stitches were removed and it’s really rubbing. I’ll have some ice treatment on it tonight and hope that it feels a bit stronger in the morning.”
“It was good to ride in the dry this afternoon, because you can learn the speed for this track in the dry and it helps you when you ride in the wet. This is the first time for me on a Superbike here and it’s the fastest track of the year so it’s not that easy to learn because you need to find your braking points. At the end I was doing consistent laps and I did my best lap-time with a used tyre, so I think I can go a bit faster with a new one. I’m not that satisfied though because in many areas I need to improve my feeling on the bike and also improve my own riding. We have a bit of work to do tonight and hopefully tomorrow we can have a dry track and do a good lap-time. I think that one-and-a-half-seconds off the best time on my first visit here on a Superbike is quite good, but maybe tomorrow it could be less than a second, so I am quite happy with this.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“We hope that the Monza weather has done its worse and that it doesn’t affect the race weekend in the same way that it did in 2012. The wet session this morning was too dangerous to ride properly, but this afternoon the track was in a good enough condition to start getting through some work on the setting, for what will hopefully be a dry race. Leon was up to fourth when he had to pit with glazed front brake pads, which is a problem we can easily solve. Jules, as ever, pushed hard to ensure he is in a solid position as we go into tomorrow.
“Our uprated specification engine, using new parts developed and just delivered by Yoshimura, is working well and by comparison to 2012, we are a lot closer to the competition in terms of outright speed. Let’s hope we can get the details right and have a strong qualifying tomorrow!”
Monza – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Qualifying 1: 1. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’42.883: 2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.274: 3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.627: 4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.638: 5. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +0.740. 9. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +1.223: 10 Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +1.583.