Heroic ride from pit-lane to seventh for Cluzel

FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Jules Cluzel produced the best- ride of his fledgling Superbike career today as he stormed from a pit-lane start to seventh in the second race at Motorland Aragon.

As the riders lined up for the start of the second eni FIM Superbike World Championship race, Cluzel had a problem selecting neutral and signalled to the starting official. The Frenchman was pushed to pit-lane where he was then required to begin the race from. As the lights indicated the start, Cluzel was forced to wait until all the remaining 18 riders went past him before he could commence. He then produced two superb laps to make his way up to 10th position by the end of lap two and continued through the field before he caught his fellow countryman Loris Baz and a long battle then ensued between the pair for sixth. Cluzel managed to get past his compatriot, but a technical issue meant he couldn’t hold the place and Baz re-passed him, forcing Cluzel to settle for a hard-won seventh. In race one Cluzel got a solid start and was in eighth at the end of the first lap. He made up a couple of places in the early laps, before getting involved in a four-way battle for the higher places. The Frenchman battled hard on his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R to try and make in-roads into the top five, but as the race drew towards a conclusion Cluzel looked to have settled for a comfortable seventh, but on the last lap another rider slowed with a problem and the FIXI Crescent Suzuki man capitalised to take sixth place. FIXI Crescent Suzuki was joined at Aragon today by Leon Camier after he was released from hospital. The Englishman underwent surgery on Friday evening to repair a large wound on his knee and as soon as he was discharged from Alcaniz hospital, he made his way to the circuit to support Cluzel and the rest of the team. Camier will now return home and begin his recuperation in a battle for fitness ahead of the next race in two weeks’ time. Today’s two races were held in near perfect conditions with bright sunshine covering the 5,344m Spanish circuit, pushing track temperatures up to 42°C. Chaz Davies on a BMW took victory in both races in front of an enthusiastic and passionate crowd. Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli finished second in both events to take the championship lead. FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now return to the UK before travelling to the Netherlands for the third round of the season, which will be held at Assen on Sunday 28th April. Jules Cluzel: “Race two was very complicated and we had a few problems. As I came to the grid I couldn’t find neutral, it is normally easy, but I could only get first and second. I was in second gear waiting for the start and tried first again, but that wasn’t working and the bike was starting to roll because the clutch was getting hot. I thought if the lights come on soon it would be ok, but they were a long time coming so I put my hand up to say I had a problem. I then had to start from pit-lane, so I tried to get away really quickly and do something. I felt comfortable as the race went on, but as I passed Baz I had a strange vibration from the engine and then heard a noise and looked behind to check nothing was broken, because also the power felt different. There was no smoke so I continued, but Baz got past me and made a bit of a gap. I caught him up again, but my engine wasn’t working properly, so I did all I could to finish seventh and I am very happy with that result. “The first race was difficult because I had some grip problems that meant I was sliding a lot, but I was happy to finish sixth. I was then looking forward to improve my result in race two and maybe finish in the top-five, but that was not to be with what happened at the start. It has been a good weekend for us and I am pleased with both results after everything that happened. It was really good to see Leon at the track and I hope he makes a full recovery as quickly as possible, because we need him in the garage and out on the circuit.” Leon Camier: “I am really disappointed not to be riding and racing, but it is what it is and now we have to concentrate on getting back for Assen. There is a chance it won’t be right for then, so I need to do everything I can to be ready to race. I need to make sure the chance of infection doesn’t happen and if the skin heals and swelling goes down I will have a chance of being at the race. Where the bone has tried to push through the skin is the problem, because that could get infected. There is also a little part near a ligament that’s damaged, so I’ve got a lot of internal stitching to repair everything. I’ll take things as they come and hopefully everything will be ok. “I want to say well done to Jules, he did a great job in both races today for the whole team, and I just wish I could have been out there with him!” Paul Denning - Team Manager: “Jules did a fantastic job today of waving the FIXI Crescent Suzuki flag and keeping the Team’s spirits high in Leon’s absence. He showed an incredible amount of aggression in the early part of race two after having to start from pit-lane and despite a fairly significant technical issue from the middle of the race onwards, he adapted, kept pushing and showed a lot of maturity. This is only his second World Superbike event and for a rookie he shows massive potential. “It was great to see Leon come back to the track today from the hospital, he’ll be transported back home this evening, where he has specialist help lined up to help him for the rest of the week. We probably won’t know more until the end of next week, because the surgery needs to heal before any assessment can be made about the Assen race. “It was a tough weekend here at Aragon for a number of reasons and we had to face quite a few problems, but the team reacted very well and when things roll in our favour I am very confident we will get some very interesting results.” Aragon – eni FIM Superbike – Race One: 1. Chaz Davies (BMW) 39’50.332: 2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +5.216: 3. Marco Melandri (BMW) +7.089: 4. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +8.196: 5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) +14.417: 6. JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +18.332: Aragon – eni FIM Superbike – Race Two: 1. Davies 37’52.691: 2. Guintoli +5.035: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +7.677: 4. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) +12.549: 5. Melandri +19.766: 7. JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +26.926: Championship Classification: 1. Guintoli 85: 2. Davies 63: 3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 45: 4. Melandri 43: 5. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) 42: 7. JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 33: 14: LEON CAMIER (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 14: