Young French rider Jules Cluzel endured a baptism of fire as he made his World Superbike bow with the Fixi Crescent Suzuki team at Phillip Island in February.
Cluzel was left battered and bruised following several spills during testing at the Australian circuit prior to the opening round, but a fine seventh place result in race two capped an ultimately impressive debut for the former World Supersport contender.
“I did not do many laps in the four testing days because I had three big high-sides, one day in hospital and on Saturday of the race weekend I managed only three laps,” Cluzel told the official World Superbike website.
“So my target for the race was just to get more experience for the future and at the end I was able to fight with the leader group.
“I knew it would be tough racing as the field is so strong. I had never done two races in a day either so did not know what to expect really, but I like the two races in the same day.”
Having spent the past three seasons riding 600cc machinery, Cluzel is still adapting to the extra power of a Superbike and only rode the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 Suzuki for the first time in January.
“I believe that we can be fast, but in race two at Phillip Island in the last seven laps I was slower compared to the front group, so I have some work to do next races with race distance,” added Cluzel, who is looking ahead to the second round at Aragon in April.
“I'm excited to get back on track and to get more laps with my new toy.
“So that's means I'm enjoying myself a lot every time I ride the bike and looking forward to being in Aragon!”
Cluzel has previously raced at the Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey, which will host a round of the championship this season, and believes the venue will be an exciting addition to the 2013 calendar.
“I am really excited about going back to Turkey. It's a very nice track with a good layout and very fast,” he said.
“I like the changes as it goes up and down and I think it will suit the Superbikes well.
“I love riding at this track and think that everyone else will as well.”