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Jul 5, 2013

BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent Tests Ahead Of The Suzuka 8 Hours

FIM Endurance World Championship: BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent (99) in action.
Suzuka, Japan - 5 July 2013: The BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent trio of Damian Cudlin, Sylvain Barrier and Erwan Nigon declared themselves satisfied with the progress made during the annual Suzuka 8 Hours test, despite rain disrupting proceedings on both days.

For Cudlin and Nigon, both of whom have previous experience racing at Suzuka, the two-day test was about familiarising themselves once again with the track, but also with the 2013 EWC specification BMW S1000RR, which neither of them have raced so far this season.

While for Barrier, who will make his Suzuka 8 Hour debut this year, the test was all about learning his way around the fast, flowing and technical 5.807km Suzuka circuit. The 24-year-old Frenchman was quickly up to speed, despite crashing without injury early on the opening day.

Traditionally the permanent teams in the Endurance World Championship are joined at the Suzuka test and the race by a number of factory supported Japanese teams. This year was no different, with the local teams, many of whom draft in top European riders for the Suzuka 8 Hours, setting the pace on both days of the test.

In the limited dry track time on the opening day the #99 BMW S1000RR finished 11th on the group timesheet but, with many teams running two bikes to maximise track time, the adjusted position was closer to the top five.

In the full wet conditions in the early part of day two, set-up issues hampered the team, but as the track started to dry the #99 BMW S1000RR was again immediately fast, topping the timesheet in the intermediate conditions.

The test highlighted a number of areas in which the team are keen to improve before they return to Japan for the 2013 Suzuka 8 Hours, which takes place on Sunday 28th July.

Damian Cudlin:
"I was really pleased to be back with the BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent guys again, as it's been a while between drinks. The test went really well. I spent the first day adjusting to the bike and the Michelin tyres again, but really got on the pace on the second day. The weather could've been better, but the rain did give us a chance to test the new Michelin wets, and I'm pleased to say they are fantastic. I'm really looking forward to the race and hopefully we can secure that podium finish we so nearly achieved last year."

Sylvain Barrier:
"It was my first time at Suzuka, so the test was very important for me. We covered a lot in the two days, despite the changeable weather, but an extra day would have been good, just to give me some more track time in the dry. I like the track, despite a crash on the opening day. I made a small mistake early in the first session and lost the rear at turn three on a cold tyre, but other than that the test was very positive. We found a good direction with the bike and my teammates were both fast, so we are satisfied with our progress. The Japanese teams are crazy fast at Suzuka, so it's difficult for me to know what to expect when I return for my first Suzuka 8 Hour race at the end of the month, but we'll do the best job we can, like always."

Naoya Kaneko: Technical Consultant
"The track temperature was a little low but, other than that, the conditions at Suzuka were almost perfect for testing, as we had the opportunity to run in dry, wet and intermediate conditions during the two days. In dry and full wet conditions we still have some time to find if we're to match the pace of the fastest teams, but we're confident we can do this ahead of the race. Some of this time we can make up by improving the set up of the bike, especially for the fast changes of direction here at Suzuka. The riders will also be able to find around half a second themselves, but I think the biggest chunk of time will come courtesy of Michelin. Having Michelin in our corner is a big advantage. Overall it was a good test. We learnt a lot and we have a clear direction for further improvements ahead of the race."