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WSBK Aragon 2013: Impressive Cluzel rides around problems
15 April 2013
Series rookie Jules Cluzel continued to mark his presence in the World Superbike Championship at Motorland Aragon as he picked up a pair of top seven finishes on a day when he otherwise struggled with bike issues.
Having already impressed by qualifying on the second row of the grid in sixth place, Cluzel got himself embroiled in the fight for fourth place during the opening race, though he would eventually slip back to a fairly distant sixth when he began suffering with grip in the latter stages.
For race two, Cluzel's problems started on the grid when a problem finding neutral meant he had to be wheeled off the grid to start from the pit-lane. Joined by Loris Baz as they scythed their way up the order, Cluzel was pleased to progress back up to seventh position, even if he feels a vibration from the engine prevented him from beating his countryman.
"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."
With four finishes under his belt, Cluzel currently sits seventh in the overall standings.