Jules Cluzel says he is now focusing on the 'small details' to bring him fully up to speed in the World Superbike Championship having impressed many by hitting the ground running in his rookie season.
As the only Superbike rookie on the grid, Cluzel has acquitted himself well aboard the relatively little-fancied Fixi Crescent Suzuki, proving a competitive team-mate to the more experienced Leon Camier, showing particularly well over a single lap in qualifying and notching up a handful of good results in the opening five rounds.
So far peaking with a best finish of sixth place in only his third race at Motorland Aragon, though Cluzel would endure tougher weekends at Assen and Monza, he is otherwise pleased with the results he has amassed so far this year.
“I'm really happy with the results we have had,” he told Crash.net
. “I was surprised to be competitive from the first race, because I was only 15 or 20secs from the leaders and we had some big crashes at Phillip Island.
“I think the most difficult thing now is the small details, such as the electronics and the power. It's not easy and I am still trying to understand, but we have improved in certain areas. It's a new, big challenge and there is plenty to learn.”
Having plied his trade at GP level over the years, Cluzel switched to the World Supersport paddock in 2012 and would raise eyebrows on the way to claiming four wins and the runners-up spot in the overall standings.
Though he was immediately earmarked as a WSS title favourite for 2013, Cluzel says there was little hesitation in his mind when Fixi Crescent offered him a Superbike deal instead.
“This was the big question, but for me it wasn't a question,” he added. “When my manager told me I had the opportunity to come here with Crescent, he asked me to think about it, but for me it was already decided.
“I am really happy to be here. My aim is not to be a world champion two or three times in Supersport, it's to be world champion in the best category I can, so Superbike is like the step before MotoGP. I want to win some races and score podiums in Superbike, maybe even challenge for the title one day…”
Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, Cluzel is confident he has a bike to challenge for the podium and even a race win if circumstances fall his way.
“I am here to win races and I think it should be possible if things happen in the right way. If I push at my maximum, the bike looks pretty good everywhere, so I think it's possible for a podium. In dry conditions, a race win would be hard but perhaps if it rains or it's tricky conditions, I will try everything to do my best.”
Cluzel is currently 10th in the WSBK standings, just ahead of team-mate Camier.