Super seventh at an eventful Laguna Seca for Cluzel

FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Jules Cluzel finally took an impressive seventh place finish in today?s first eni FIM Superbike World Championship race at Laguna Seca in America at the third time of asking following two race stoppages

The new World Superbike timetable meant that a race was run on a Saturday at this event in America and it turned out that it became even more eventful than scheduled as the 26-lap race had three starts following a series of incidents that caused two red-flags. Race one was stopped after six completed laps when a bike crashed into the safety barrier, causing a puncture in one of the air fences that surrounds the 3,610m Laguna Seca circuit. The race was stopped and a re-start ordered for the remaining 20-laps. This too was then red-flagged for a similar incident, leading to a third start that would be over 12-laps. Cluzel began the race from eighth on the grid – the position he occupied when the previous race was stopped – and by lap-three he had moved up to seventh, but in those first couple of laps he had lost a lot of time and was unable to close the gap on the top-six. He rode a lonely race for the remaining laps, but kept a steady and consistent pace to consolidate his position and believes the data he gathered from today’s truncated race will help him in tomorrow’s 26-lap event. Blake Young gave a good account of himself on his FIXI Crescent Suzuki debut, as a replacement rider for the injured Leon Camier. Young was able to benefit from the stoppages as it enabled him to continue to make small adjustments to his machine and get more opportunities of race-starting his Suzuki GSX-R. In the third version of race one, Young started from 13th on the grid – and improvement on his qualifying position of 17th – and then chased down and passed the Factory Honda mounted Superbike regular Michel Fabrizio to move into 12th place, a position he held to the flag. Young was pleased with his efforts and believes that today will give him more confidence ahead of Sunday’s race. Today’s proceedings took place in brilliant sunshine under clear blue skies with air temperatures rising to 27°C. Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes took the victory to increase his lead at the top of the championship. Tomorrow will see the second race of the weekend get underway at 14.00hrs local time (22.00hrs BST), when both the FIXI Crescent Suzuki boys will be looking to make further improvements and push for better results. Jules Cluzel: “In this morning’s Superpole we improved the feeling of the bike quite a lot and the only problem that I had in the three sessions was that I had no qualifying tyre for the final session, so I couldn’t push to improve my time. The qualifiers didn’t actually work that well for us and I did my fastest lap-time with a race tyre anyway. I was quite happy, but still had some questions about where we could improve, but the good thing about today was the three starts for the race because we were able to try different things each time. In the first part it was not very good and I was not really happy, but in race two we improved the lap-times and things felt easier, although I was losing the front a lot, so in the third outing we improved that, but it made some other problems for us! We do have some good data now and I think we can improve more tomorrow. I lost maybe two-seconds in the first two-laps of the final race – maybe more – and I couldn’t catch the first group, but I didn’t lose any more time to the guys that were in front of me, I could still see them so I was happy with that. I think we have some good things to improve and that these won’t be too difficult to improve on.” Blake Young: “As the guys in the team would say ‘it was quite lovely today!’. Seriously though it has been a great experience and I’m happy to be out on the racetrack on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R – I feel at home on it already. The race worked out more in my favour than it probably ever could have with all the red flags. You never like to see them because it means that people could possibly be hurt, but it seemed like all the guys got up and were fine. Those red flags gave us time to make adjustments to the bike and with every one we made the motorcycle better. I was so happy with the job the crew did today and I can’t thank them enough. All the guys here on the team would obviously like a better result – and so would I – but we’ll take 12th today and see if we can improve on it tomorrow.” Paul Denning - Team Manager: “Today was the first time that World Superbikes tried the Saturday race format and it was certainly eventful! Both of our guys did very solid jobs in all three of the race starts and it worked well for Blake who had the opportunity to stop and consider the setting on the GSX-R and how he could adapt it further to suit his style as he became more familiar with the bike. “The final result of seventh for Jules was well deserved and for a Superbike rookie on his first visit to Laguna, the team is very pleased with his efforts. We’re only missing a tiny amount to be able to run with the top-six group and hope we can work on the setting and maybe the tyre choice to make the bike a bit easier for him. Based on the potential Jules showed today we’ll give it the very best shot we can.” Laguna Seca – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Race One: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 16’55.703: 2. Chaz Davies (BMW) +1.253: 3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +2.454: 4. Marco Melandri (BMW) +2.650: 5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +3.430: 7. JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +9.134: 12. BLAKE YOUNG (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +21.767: