De Puniet Joins Crescent Suzuki
Randy de Puniet – the 33-year-old Frenchman who has been instrumental in testing/developing the Suzuki MotoGP GSX-RR prototype – will be a vital figure for Suzuki Racing in 2015.
Besides continuing his responsibilities as a main test rider on the Suzuki GSX-RR, De Puniet has also signed on with the UK-based Voltcom Crescent Suzuki World Superbike team.
De Puniet will pilot a GSX-R1000 alongside current Suzuki SBK pilot Alex Lowes.
As for the other current Suzuki SBK rider, Eugene Laverty moves to MotoGP in 2015 with Drive M7 Aspar.
Throughout his 15 years of Grand Prix racing, de Puniet has had 139 MotoGP starts, and garnered five GP wins in the former 250cc class. De Puniet, who spent 2012-2013 with the Power Electronics Aspar CRT team in MotoGP, also finished second with the Yoshimura Suzuki team in the 2014 Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance Race.
While he campaigns the GSX-R1000 with the factory Suzuki SBK team, De Puniet’s main responsibility with the MotoGP test team will be matching the GSX-RR’s performance to MotoGP’s new tire supplier in 2016, the France-based Michelin.
“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!” De Puniet says.
“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 tire, everything is different and I have many things to learn but I am ready for that and I’m very confident.
“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.”
Paul Denning, Suzuki Team Manager, says “We couldn’t be happier to have secured Randy’s agreement to compete in the 2015 World Superbike Championship on board our GSX-R1000. We needed a high-quality rider to replace Eugene; Randy was the obvious choice, and we are very proud to have gained his trust and commitment to race with us next year.
“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 acclimatization period to learn the GSX-R1000 and the Pirelli tires, I see no reason why he won’t be an absolute front runner. Randy’s close working relationship with the Suzuki Factory can also only be positive for the World Superbike project, and the whole team is very excited about getting down to work, and turning 2014’s potential into solid results for both riders next season.”