Team Suzuki Press Office – June 7. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel finished comfortably inside the Superpole positions during today’s first qualifying session for the sixth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Portimao in Portugal.
Camier led the way for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team as he posted the ninth-quickest time around the 4,592m Portuguese circuit. He made several changes to his machine throughout both the qualifying and free practices and is confident that he can improve his own riding further as the weekend progresses; and be able to challenge for a good result on race-day.
Cluzel was returning to a circuit that saw him take victory in the 600cc class last season, but the step-up to the Superbike class was a completely different affair and the ever-improving Frenchman made sure he used both sessions to gather as much information as possible for his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki. His 12th place was only one second off the fastest time of the day and Cluzel is convinced he can make steps tomorrow to further improve his time.
Today’s conditions at Portimao were very windy with an overcast sky covering the circuit all day. Track temperatures this afternoon reached 37° C as Honda’s Jonathan Rea took provisional pole.
Camier and Cluzel have a second qualifying session tomorrow morning where they will aim to consolidate their places in the top-15 to make sure they are in the afternoon’s Superpole to get the best qualifying positions for Sunday’s two races.
“We changed the bike a bit today because I felt that I wanted a bit more out of it and we certainly improved it – that’s for sure. My consistency was a lot better as well, but I still need to find a bit more speed in some places. We still need to make some small changes, but only enough for me to get the feeling I want and then I can start to push and find the boundaries, then hopefully that will be good enough for race-pace. The wind was a bit difficult today; as you came down the start-finish straight it would try and blow you off the track. It was quite vicious there, but thankfully not as bad around the rest of the track.”
“I am happy to have completed a whole Friday in dry conditions; it has helped us to try lots of stuff and we now have more data to improve the bike tomorrow. I am pleased with 12th because it is only one-second away from the best time and I think we can do better tomorrow. This is not an easy track because it is very bumpy and everybody is wheelying, but this is a good thing for us because it means we will be able to fight with all the other riders as we are all having the same things happen.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Position-wise we would like both of the FIXI Crescent Suzuki riders to be further up the leaderboard today, but it has been a solid day’s work so we can’t complain. Leon has been regaining confidence following a difficult race-day at Donington and is progressing well step-by-step. The lap-times are extremely close, with Jules just one second from the fastest rider, but that one-second puts him down in 12th place! The team will be working hard tonight to give the riders a little more grip and a bit more confidence to see if we can eat away at the gap to the front row tomorrow morning.”
Portimao – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Qualifying 1: 1. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’43.551: 2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +0.052: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.097: 4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.383: 5. Davide Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.466. 9. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +0.727. 12. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +1.042.