Cluzel happy with Portimao test, unsure on new rear slick tyre

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 11:18 GMT

The Frenchman is the rider who leads the way going to Phillip Island, although he is searching for more with his YZF R6

Until the Phillip Island test at the end of February, testing is finished for World Supersport riders ahead of 2020 and going into the new decade as the man to beat is Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha). The Frenchman, three-times a runner-up, led the final day of testing at the Portimao circuit in Portugal to head down under as the rider at the head of the field. Second at Phillip Island last season and twice a winner at the track, Cluzel could be the rider with an advantage going into the new season.

With last year’s Champion Randy Krummenacher (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) moving from Yamaha to MV Agusta and runner-up Federico Caricasulo moving to WorldSBK, Cluzel is the first rider in the standings from 2019 to have continuity moving forward into the new season. Spending much of the tests refining their package, Cluzel focused on bike set-up and setting good lap times on used tyres.

Speaking after the Portimao test had concluded: “I am really happy because we worked well here in Portimao, to find a set-up with the new slick tyres. It feels really different; I had a great feeling with the front tyre but not really with the rear. We improved a lot on Sunday, and on Monday, we tried to make another step, to confirm our great pace. To be honest, I was expecting to be a lot quicker with the slick tyre, and that was our biggest problem. I feel inside me that we can make an even better lap time. The important thing is the race pace, and that is amazing.”

Cluzel will be looking to return the French flag to the top in 2020, with three race wins last year only good enough for third in the Championship. However, aiming to give France a 58th win in the WorldSSP Championship, Cluzel may well be considered as one of the favourites for the title in the forthcoming season.

Continuing to look ahead to the 2020 season, the Frenchman said: “I am dreaming of being World Champion, but I know that before you can be World Champion, you have to win races and to be consistent; this will be my target in 2020. Randy Krummenacher is the man to beat but there are other guys who come from other classes who will be really hard to beat too. I expect a tough season, but consistency will be the key and this is my target.”

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