Team Suzuki Press Office – September 15. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel will start tomorrow’s Turkish round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship from the second row of the grid after qualifying in sixth-place today.
Cluzel progressed to the Superpole courtesy of yesterday’s qualifying time, after rain on the 5,340m Intercity Istanbul circuit made it impossible for any riders to improve this morning. The French rookie also sat out most of the second free practice due to the wet conditions, but as the track dried in the later stages he was able to post a couple of fast laps that saw him finish second on the timesheets. In Superpole 1 Cluzel comfortably advanced to the next session with the seventh fastest time, a feat he equalled in Superpole 2. In the final Superpole he posted a time of 1’55.614 on his Pirelli qualifying tyre, which was good enough to see him and the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R finish in sixth, just over 0.7 seconds behind pole-setter Tom Sykes.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will only have one representative on the grid for tomorrow’s two races after Leon Camier was forced to withdraw following his huge crash and subsequent operation yesterday. He was released from hospital this morning after surgery to insert screws, pins and wires into seven fractures in his right foot. Camier returned to the circuit to be with the team and will return to Andorra soon to begin his recuperation.
Tomorrow will see the first World Superbike races ever held in Turkey, the first of which gets underway at 13.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST) with the second 18-lap instalment starting at 14.30hrs local time (12.30hrs BST).
“I am happy with Superpole, but a little bit disappointed because I think third or fourth was possible. I was not able to make the perfect lap, which was all my own fault. I tried some different stuff and sometimes it was working for me and sometimes not. We also tried some different traction and I was not really sure about it, so probably didn’t push hard enough. I think it was certainly possible to be fourth, but this would have changed nothing as it is still the second row and I’m happy to be there. I am looking forward to tomorrow and hope we’ll have a good feeling with the race tyre. Hopefully it will be dry for warm-up and we will try more laps with the race tyre to see how it performs.”
“It was good to see Leon out of hospital and back at the track, I hope he gets well quickly and is back on the bike soon – it is good to have him on the other side of the garage and I will miss him.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Today has been a strange day for the team in many ways here in Istanbul. Both of this morning’s sessions were meaningless due to intermediate track conditions, so the only serious running has been the three very short Superpole sessions. That hasn’t given Jules and his crew an awful lot to go on in terms of making the necessary improvements from yesterday, but it does look like some of the key points that they have been targeting have been dealt with and clearly Jules was able to find enough confidence to post a good enough lap – despite it not being perfect – and end up on the second-row. This will give him a good opportunity to get involved with the fastest riders tomorrow.
“Leon has been with us most of the day at the track. The condition of his foot is really not pleasant and on top of that he has been pretty ill coming out of the anaesthetic and the after-effects of the operation. Hopefully he’ll be feeling better tomorrow and will be able to be with the team at the circuit and start the first steps of his rehabilitation.”
Istanbul – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’54.872: 2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.022+ 3. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +0.201: 4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +0.468: 5. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +0.674: 6. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +0.742.