World Supersport runner-up Jules Cluzel will step up to the World Superbike Championship in 2013 after it was announced he would be joining Leon Camier at FIXI Crescent Suzuki.
The outfit had been expected to announce Sylvain Guintoli as its second rider for 2013, but the Frenchman was cast adrift after he failed to provide a firm commitment to the FIXI Crescent team.
As a result, FIXI Crescent approached his countryman Cluzel for 2013 instead, the youngster having impressed many during his rookie season in the World Supersport Championship, a campaign that yielded four race wins and second position in the overall standings.
A former Moto2 race winner, Cluzel says it was an easy decision to make the switch to Superbike competition with FIXI Crescent Suzuki.
“I am really excited to be joining the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team. It is a big step in my career, but one that I am very happy to take. When I was given the option to work with Suzuki in World Superbikes, I did not need to think about it twice and I just said a big “Yes!” straight away.
“I am really motivated by the whole project and I know that this is what I want. I will make sure I'm totally ready for the first race and plan to learn not only quickly, but also intelligently. I cannot wait to start work and I am also really pleased to be working with an English team. I now just want to get on the bike and see how it goes, do my best and challenge for some good results.”
Team principal Paul Denning was also pleased to have secured a quality rider in Cluzel for 2013, particularly in the wake of Guintoli's departure.
“Securing Leon's team-mate for 2013 hasn't exactly been the smoothest process, but in the end we couldn't be happier with the result! Jules is young, fast and aggressive and has shown that he can adapt to new bikes and new championships very quickly. His 250GP and Moto2 experience provides an understanding and feeling for stiffer, less forgiving 'race-bikes' which the WSBK machines have developed into, and we anticipate a quick transition to the GSX-R.
“Any rider who has won a Moto2 race - and finished ahead of riders like Stefan Bradl and Scott Redding in the Championship standings - and then come to such a competitive series as World Supersport and just missed out on becoming Champion in his first year, clearly has a great talent – we are excited to have Jules with us!
“Importantly, Jules has shown his commitment and is very excited to be with FIXI Crescent Suzuki in WSBK for 2013 - it's nice to create a partnership where both sides are equally committed and share the same targets. The team is doing absolutely everything it can to make sure that the competitive base of the GSX-R, which we found towards the end of 2012, is taken forward so that we can provide Leon and Jules with machinery worthy of their talent.”
Cluzel becomes the latest rider to switch from Supersport to Superbike machinery without any prior experience, following on from WSBK race winners Eugene Laverty and Chaz Davies.