The French rider now hopes to secure the runner up spot in WSS
After doing his best to keep his title hopes alive in a challenging and hard fought race at Jerez, Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) had to throw the towel following a low speed crash at the last turn, while attempting an overtaking manoeuvre on the race leader at the time Florian Marino.
With two races left in the 2014 season, the French rider is aiming to seal the runner up spot with two strong performances at Magny-Cours and Losail before focusing on his future again with MV.
Last time out you were the only rider who could take the title away from Michael van der Mark. You managed to fight for the win against him and Marino but ended up with a crash. How do you rate your race at Jerez?
“Overall, it was a very, very difficult race. I had many problems during the race and that’s why I can be happy to have fought for victory and been close to deny van der Mark’s title. I had only one thing to do and that was winning the race. Unfortunately, I could not do so as I lost the front at the last corner. I’m disappointed because I was hoping to succeed but it was very difficult. Nonetheless, still happy because I’m now thinking about next year, though I still want to finish second of the championship, and I know that we will be competitive and that we just have to sort out the few problems we’re having.”
What were the problems you encountered on your bike during that weekend?
“On the brakes, I missed stability while downshifting and it explains why I couldn’t be consistent. We’ve been having this issue since the beginning of the year. We more or less manage to solve it, depending on the tracks, but we need a little more time to find a proper solution.”
Do you think you felt less comfortable on your bike than your rivals van der Mark and Marino?
“I surely did, I was losing a lot of time and with the speed I had, if I didn’t have these problems, I could have been ten seconds ahead. My team knows it and I know it, too. I also think that people who were watching the race on television could see that even though I was losing a second per lap, I still managed to catch up with them every time. It’s easy to say now but I’m thinking about my future and it’s important because I know that we already have the speed, with the bike and on my side. I just need to be more consistent on race distance and I think that we can expect good things for the future.”
The next race will take place at Magny-Cours, where you won the WSS race in 2012. How do you feel about your home round?
“I’m calm. My goal is to finish second of the championship. In Jerez, my goal was not to secure the second place, it was to win and wait for van der Mark to make a mistake. It did not work out and we have to change the plan. Now we have to finish second. I will do my best to win. I will try to enjoy myself and if I can do it, we will hopefully fight for victory in the last two rounds.”
You are up against fellow Frenchman Florian Marino for the runner-up finish. Will there be something else at stake when you will both be racing in Magny-Cours, in front of the French fans?
“Maybe for Marino. He is younger. For me, no. I give my all at every race. I won’t be giving more just because we’ll be in Magny-Cours. If you do, there are risks to make mistakes. I’ll see how the weekend goes and try to stay focused. I want to enjoy myself and I’m hoping to get that second place.”
After the French Round you will be heading to Qatar for the season finale. You must have very good memories of the track, where you earned your first Grand Prix podium there back in 2009, plus another one in 2010. Will it be special for you to go back to Losail?
“Yes. I’m very happy that we have this round in Qatar because I like going there. Of course, I also have great memories of it. It’s a nice track, a fast and pretty wide one, a real Grand Prix track. It’s also very special because we’re racing by night. It doesn’t change what we’re doing but it’s different, the landscape, the lighting, arriving to the paddock at the end of the day… I like it and I’m glad that we’re going there. It will be the last round. I think that our bike will be competitive there and am looking forward to it.”
You have raced there six times already in GP. Do you think it will be an advantage for you on your opponents?
“It’s possible, yes. I think that it will not hurt to have raced there not so long ago. Last time was in 2011 but it’s a track I know. But I also think that my rivals are riders who can adapt very quickly and that it’s not a difficult track to learn. I’m not excepting to have an easy time there.”
About this season, how do you weigh up your work with MV Agusta and are you satisfied with the way you have helped the development of the F3?
“I’m very happy overall. I would have liked to fight for the title until the end. It wasn’t possible this year but I hope that we can win it next year. We’re in talks to define a development plan that would help us reaching our common goal, which is to be World Champions in 2015. But I’m happy, we’ve started a wonderful relationship with MV and I’m happy to be part of this family. I’m very happy with our relationship. The bike is great, a real race bike. We’ve had a few difficulties but I’ve decided to continue with them because we have a huge potential. I feel that this year, we didn’t show all that we could do.”
Are you saying that you will be racing with MV Agusta next year?
“It’s what we’re planning. I don’t know yet in which class I’ll be racing, it will depend on the technical talks we’re having now, but my heart tells me to stay in Supersport.”
Is there a possibility for you to race with MV in WSBK?
“Yes. It’s a choice I can still make but as I said, I’d prefer to race in Supersport.”
In any case, will you still be with MV next year?
“Yes, I’m staying with MV Agusta for 2015.”