Front-Row

Cluzel to start first round of 2017 from front row

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Jules Cluzel will start the season opening, 18 lap World Supersport race at Philip Island from second position on the grid, just over a tenth of a second behind pole sitter Jacobsen.

In glorious Australian sunshine Cluzel was able to secure the front row start posting a time of 1’33.2 and the Frenchman is looking forward to a battle for the podium in tomorrow’s race.

Jules said: “I am really happy, I enjoyed the last part of qualifying.  I followed Jacobsen and that has helped me a lot; too much I think because I am not normally a rider that follows people.  I did it because I wanted to see where I was losing time and at the end I saw that I was quite good, quite comfortable.  In the last turn I lost everything that I had gained over the whole lap but then I saw my time and realised we were fast!  I have to understand how to ride the bike better and quicker alone because we have really strong potential.  The target tomorrow is to improve at the last turn because that is the key to winning the race.”

Hikari Okubo started his first Superpole 2 full of confidence that he could battle for a top five place on the grid when he fell on his second flying lap at turn eleven.  He was taken to the circuit medical centre where x-rays confirmed a broken collarbone, ruling him out of any further participation in the event this weekend.

A time of 1’34.591 secured Robin Mulhauser a place on the sixth row of the grid for his debut outing with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda and his progress suggests he is on target to achieve his aim of a strong points finish in the race tomorrow.

 

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Fantastic job by Jules today and a great job by the team.   He was fastest for a time and PJ just pipped him to pole on the second lap they did together.  It was good they went round together so Jules could see where he was weak and where he was strong and also see ways that he needed to adapt to get the best from himself and also from our bike.  He’s looking strong for the race tomorrow.  We’ll try to improve, try some things in Warm Up and look to challenge for the win tomorrow in the race.

Robin is improving again in lap time. He’s a little disappointed with 17th but to be honest, he struggled to get the best out of the tyre on the first lap. He’s aware of that but he’s in a very strong positon to challenge for a points finish and as close to the top ten as he can in his first race with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda.

It is such a shame for Hikari, he’s been riding so well all weekend.  He was top six in SP2 and then on his first run he crashed and unfortunately he’s broken his collarbone.  He is going to hospital tonight for an operation tomorrow morning with a view to being fit to ride in the next round in Thailand.  He was doing such a great job and he was so unlucky for this to happen.  We wish him a speedy recovery.”

Round One of the 2017 World Supersport Championship takes place tomorrow at 1:30pm local time.