Australia’s Damian Cudlin has given Kawasaki its first IDM win for 6 years at the latest round of the IDM Superbike Championship at the Nurburgring in Germany.
In just his third race for the newly formed Weber-Diener Kawasaki Team, Cudlin reminded the paddock why he was a championship contender last season and put on a wet weather riding display that stunned his opposition; winning the first race with a 12 second margin from Ducati’s Xavi Fores and Suzuki’s Erwan Nigon.
While his Weber-Diener Kawasaki Team were thrilled with the victory, no one had expected such a result in such a short time, including Cudlin himself.
“Obviously I’m over the moon but I’m really happy for the team too. This is just what they needed. It proves to them and our team sponsors that this is possible and I’m sure this will give everyone a real boost.” Cudlin beamed. “When I woke up this morning and saw rain outside my caravan window, I felt that it could play into our hands if we managed it right. We started from scratch with this bike only a couple of weeks ago, and we still have a lot of work to do in the dry conditions, but the rain is a great equalizer so I stuck my neck out there today and managed to pull off the win. I’m really happy.”
The joy seemed to be short-lived for the Weber-Diener Kawasaki Team though, as Cudlin was forced to pit on the first lap of race two with a defective rear tyre. The crew worked frantically on his machine and fitted a new tyre, allowing Cudlin to rejoin the race in last place. Moments later, rain forced out the red flag and the race would be re-started under wet conditions, with a combined time result.
Returning to his familiar suspension set-up and Dunlop wet tyres, Cudlin started from last place on the grid and sliced his way through the field, desperate to gain positions in the shortened 6-lap dash to the flag. Passing 2 to 3 riders simultaneously at times, Cudlin charged forward and soon got within striking distance of the front men. With a thrilling final lap, Cudlin overhauled reigning IDM Champion Markus Reiterberger for 3rd place, concluding an exceptional fight back.
“We were unlucky with the tyre problem in the first part of the race but these things are out of our control. Anyway it made for an exciting race, especially starting from the back of the grid. I couldn’t see a thing with so much spray and, I have to admit, I took some big risks coming through the field the way I did. Still, I enjoyed it a lot and was happy to see my crew grinning so much when I came back to the pits.” Cudlin smiled.
The results have seen Cudlin rocket to 6th in the overall standings, after just 3 appearances this year, climbing ahead of the likes of Honda’s Michi Ranseder, Yamaha’s Matej Smrz and Suzuki’s Erwan Nigon.
The next round of the IDM Superbike Championship will be held at the Schelizer Dreieck in Germany, on the 18th/19th/20th of July.