Five minutes with Damian Cudlin at the Australian GP

damian-cudlin-philip-island-motogp-qualifying-2013How has the weekend been so far?
It was hard and we’re still struggling in some areas of the race track, particularly when the wind comes up. One of the problems is that it’s weight biased towards the rear so often the front is unloaded and in this heavy wind it’s difficult to get weight over the front. We made some pretty big changes for today to get more weight on the front so now it’s a case of how much more should we go. It’s a difficult decision to make because you can go backwards but with the position we’re in at the minute I sort of feel it’s worth having a go at and we’ve nothing to lose. I want to improve the bike so that I can ride confidently and attack on it. I still feel in some areas that the bike is taking me for a ride. But I’ve got to be patient with it and keep plugging away. We’re definitely not giving up and I’ve had the guys are working pretty hard this weekend because I’ve had them changing some stuff. It’s just always hard at a race weekend because of the lack of time. You’ve got 45 minutes when you’re actually riding but that means two or three exits so you need a plan before the session starts.

damian-cudlin-2-philip-island-motogp-fp3-2013Where do you need to find improvement?
It’s a bit in me and getting more out of the tyres and the bike itself so we’ve got to just keep going with the direction we’re going in because I do think that it’s the right way and hopefully we can improve in the race. If the wind dies down I think that it will really help us because when it was calmer this morning I was a lot closer.

You went over a second faster this morning, were there any other changes than just putting more weight on the front?
That was the big change but we changed a lot. We changed the steering angle, the offset, the ride height, the swingarm height so we did go a chunk faster than yesterday but at the same time I know how fast I went around here on other bikes and I know where we should be and we’ve still got some work to do. We’ve just got to keep plugging away. The things that we’ll try tomorrow, I feel like I want to give it a go at least in warmup. If it goes wrong we can just go back. I’m in the position where I’m last on the grid so why not give it a crack and see if it works?

damian-cudlin-philip-island-motogp-fp1-2013Last week it must have been encouraging to race with Staring and Scassa before your retirement?
Yeah, I got past Pesek and caught up to Scassa and Starting and I thought that I could have raced them and maybe beaten them so it was a little bit disappointing to see we’re behind them here; especially at my home track. Sometimes at your home track if you’ve been here on different bikes and used different lines it can sometimes take longer to get rid of old habits on different bikes and adapt to something new. This bike is unlike anything else I’ve ever ridden and I have to ride it completely different. I’ve had to unlearn a few bits of the track rather than learn them.

damian-cudlin-philip-island-motogp-fp3-2013When was the last time you raced here?
Last time I raced here was 2011 with the Ducati but I only lasted on the Friday and crashed on Saturday morning and broke my hip. Before that it was probably in the Australian Superbikes in 2004 or 2003. But I’ve been round here in Superbikes. I’m just happy to be here and honestly it’s a real thrill to be given the ride for the rest of the year and have the whole team be real good to me and really supportive. They’re really trying to give me what I need to be fast with it and it’s good that I’ve got these races and can keep working on the bike and developing it. It’s good to be here but I’d obviously just like to be a bit further up!

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