Feb 1, 2013
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FIXI Crescent Suzuki Team Owner/Manager Paul Denning (right) and Jules Cluzel (left).
FIXI Crescent Suzuki World Superbike Team Manager Paul Denning talks about the behind-the-scenes preparation on the 2013 Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 and the recent tests in Spain with riders Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel.
The most important first step towards the 2013 season was Leon Camier pledging his future to the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team and the GSX-R. In my opinion Leon is the most under-rated rider in WSBK and a huge talent with winning potential. After John Hopkins was forced to take 2013 out due to his injuries, we have been very lucky to draw Jules Cluzel to the team. We are really pleased to have him onboard, he has already settled in really well and from first impressions he will definitely be very exciting to watch!
To have the continued partnership with FIXI as title sponsor for this year is vitally important at this level - it's a pleasure to work with such a forward-thinking company. Alongside our existing partners, such as Yoshimura, Motorex, Blue Chip, Sign Language and many others, plus the new support from Voltcom, Doodson Insurance, Watches of Distinction and Spidi - as well as several new technical partners - the team is on a very solid base heading in to the new season. Last year was quite tough in many ways - both on and off the track - and the loyalty and support of Suzuki is a good sign that they are serious about the motorcycle market, and that they want to entertain dealers and customers with a strong, aggressive presence in the World Superbike Championship.
The guys here at Crescent have worked so hard throughout the winter to considerably improve the GSX-R for the start of the season. They have demonstrated a superb level of dedication, desire and attention of detail, leaving no area of the bike untouched - it has been a pleasure to see the 2013 FIXI Crescent Suzuki evolving. Our working relationship with Yoshimura has also altered, so that we at Crescent are now building and maintaining the engines at race headquarters in Verwood and Yoshimura is working on the long term fundamental development of the engine's performance. These split duties are working well, Yoshimura now has more capacity to concentrate on the development side and we work very closely with them on a day to day basis. Technical Manager Yohei Kato and Fujio Yoshimura himself are so committed to helping the team succeed, they are a crucial partner and it gives us great pride to be "Powered by Yoshimura." From a personal point-of-view I am also really enjoying the day-to-day running of the team, it's been a lot of hard work pulling everything together - and we're not quite there yet - but to be back working at the sharp end with such a professional group of guys is very gratifying.
The recent tests in Spain were used more as a shakedown to establish that everything was working as it should. Also the weather was not very good - we only managed two days of good weather out of the four - so it was never about chasing fast lap-times. Having said that, Leon rode really well in all conditions and we were pleasantly surprised to be extremely close to the front runners, considering that they had had far more track time leading up to these tests. The performance of the bike is about where we planned it to be and we will now use the next tests in Phillip Island to move things on a bit further. Jules certainly showed potential, he certainly has plenty of raw speed, and we are really looking forward to seeing what he can do once he's had more track time on the Superbike.
We are all looking forward to the first race, but we will try to approach it in a calm and restrained manner and see what we can achieve. We already have another test booked at Aragon in Spain, just before the second race, so by then we will have further developments to test and take the next steps forward. One thing's for certain though, we will be giving our maximum from day one and hope to reward FIXI, Suzuki, all our partners and Suzuki's fans worldwide with good results and some exciting moments.