Jules Cluzel is coming away from his first World Superbike Championship round with a smile on his face after turning around his fortunes to claim a fine seventh place for Fixi Crescent Suzuki at Phillip Island.
The Frenchman has endured a troubled build up to his Superbike debut, damaging his bike in three crashes during pre-season testing before suffering persistent technical issues throughout the race weekend.
Qualifying just 17th, Cluzel made modest progress in race one to score points in 11th, before making the most of first lap melee that delayed four of his rivals up ahead to finish in an excellent seventh during race two.
Showing his racing nous to run as high as sixth at one stage, ahead of 2012 runner-up Tom Sykes, Cluzel was thrilled to get two solid results on his debut considering his relatively minimal pre-race mileage.
“I am really happy with both races, even though the first one was very difficult, but I finished and learned a lot,” he said. “We chose the wrong tyre in the first race, which was not a big problem because I need to learn and understand everything.
“I needed to do some laps and I think in the two races today I did more laps than I had done all weekend – and maybe the test as well! It's really good to finish the weekend like this and I am pleased for my team as well because they have had a tough time and worked really hard to get me on the track. I think this has been a good step for the future.”