Speaking in Valencia after the opening day of practice de Puniet admitted that a season filled with technical difficulties has left him in a vulnerable position with his future most likely resting with Suzuki as a test rider ahead of the Japanese manufacturer’s return to the premier class in 2015.
When asked about his season to date and his strong showing in Philip Island last month, finishing 10th and qualifying 12th, de Puniet said:
“The difference in Australia was that I had less technical problems,” said the Frenchman. “In Aragon I only had the warmup because I had lots of problems. Australia was perfect because the bike was perfect and everything was good. In Japan in the morning I was 1.5s slower than I was in the race. so the problem was that I haven’t been able to do normal weekends.”
That problem continued in Valencia with de Puniet having suffered more bad fortune with mechanical woes:
“This morning I did three laps before I had an engine braking problem and lost the session and then this afternoon after three laps I had an engine problem and jumped onto Bike 2 and it wasn’t as good as Bike 1. I finished 18th and tomorrow I hope to have a normal day to come back but I’ve lost two sessions and it’s impossible to come back from that. It has been many different things [this season]-electronics, engine, brake problems-the only GP without problems was Philip Island. I really want to finish the season well because I like this track and after the race in Philip Island I think that we can do a good race but I need one session to set up the bike.”
When pressed about his plans for next year de Puniet, who has tested for Suzuki throughout the season, admitted that they are the most likely landing spot for him for next year but that if he were sign he would want to have guarantees in his contract that it would lead to a race seat the following year.
“I don’t know yet about next year but we’ve spoken with Suzuki. The main problem for me is that with Suzuki I would develop a bike but I want to continue to race. I hope to have more news and information this weekend and then I will decide what to do. The Suzuka 8 Hours could be in the contract but I don’t know yet. For 2014 and getting something for 2015 is my priority [with Suzuki].
“Suzuki are talking about wildcards for next year but it could be one, two, three or four. Everything is open but it is not clear. I am pushing for a wildcard in the middle of the season to see the potential of the bike. I’m pretty sure that the bike is competitive but for me at this moment nothing is clear about wildcards or my future. I hope to be in MotoGP next year either testing or racing but what I want is not to do another season like this.”
De Puniet also said that he has spoken to other MotoGP teams about next season and that he expects to be able to announce some news over the course of this weekend.