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|10-15-2014, 02:12 AM||#1|
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de Puniet to join Crescent Suzuki in WSBK
The Frenchman will becomes teammates with Alex Lowes in 2015
AFTER becoming one of Suzuki's main test riders for their GSX-RR MotoGP development project, Randy de Puniet has now been confirmed to ride for the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki Team in World Superbikes next season.
As the Spanish duo Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales were hunted down for the Suzuki GSX-RR ride in MotoGP, despite being their test rider, de Puniet was not selected. However, the Frenchman will still continue with the testing duties which also include a wildcard appearance on-board the GSX-RR at Valencia - the final round of the season.
The 33-year-old will become a full-time World Superbike rider in 2015, however it has also been confirmed that he will remain as a Suzuki MotoGP test rider focusing particularly on the bike's performance when using MotoGP's new 2016 tyre provider Michelin.
de Puniet said: "I’m so happy to be joining Crescent Suzuki for the Superbike World Championship because my target for 2015 was to get back to competing on the race track. Testing for the past year was ok but of course what I really want is to race!
"I really enjoyed racing in Suzuka this year – to race, to fight and to be on the podium is everything to me. I had the opportunity to join the Crescent team for next year and I’m really happy; my first priority was to stay with Suzuki because I want to stay within this family, and for me this is a new challenge – a new championship, new bike, new tyre, everything is different and I have many things to learn but I am ready for that and I’m very confident.
Concluding, de Puniet said: "I will be joining a very strong team with a lot of experience and I think the bike will be good next year. We have a good test plan for this winter and I think we will be ready for the first race in Phillip Island next year."
de Puniet has been up on the world stage for 15 years including five 250cc Grand Prix race wins as well as a total of 139 MotoGP race starts. Although de Puniet has not race full-time during the 2014 season, he was involve in the 2014 Suzuka 8-hour endurance race with the Yoshimura team.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki Team Manager Paul Denning commented: "He has impressed Suzuki this year with his hard work and feedback as test rider on the Grand Prix GSX-RR, but Randy’s racing pedigree is also beyond doubt and his potential to succeed on the Superbike is clear.
"This is not a commercially driven deal – the primary motivation is simply to race! After an acclimatisation period to learn the GSX-R1000 and the Pirelli tyres, I see no reason why he won’t be an absolute front runner."
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