Motorcycle racer Damian Cudlin has experienced it all in the past few weeks. The Aussie all rounder got to experience the highs of replacing GP stars, Loris Capirossi and Hector Barbera on a MotoGP grid, but also experienced the lows of crashing out due to technical problems in Japan, and suffering a monstrous crash at Phillip Island, which eventually ruled him out of his home grand prix.
Still recovering from a hip injury and severe abrasions, Cudlin has had time to reflect on his MotoGP adventures but insists his focus is now on securing his first World Title when the final round of the Endurance World Championship draws to a close in Qatar in 2 weeks time.
“It’s been a hell of a ride and I’ve enjoyed every part of it” Cudlin insisted at his home base inGera,Germany“well… almost all of it!”
Cudlin referred to his first set back on the Pramac Ducati at the Japanese Grand Prix, where he’d climbed to 11th place in the race before a water leak caused him to crash out of the results.
“The crash inJapanwas just unlucky, as a stone had holed the radiator and it took me down by surprise.” Cudlin explained. “I didn’t even know that’s what had caused the crash at first, but the Pramac guys investigated it once I’d returned to the pits and told me later. I thought it was really good of them to tell me honestly what had happened. It was just one of those things.”
Returning toEurope, Cudlin received another shot at MotoGP when the MAPFRE Ducati Team when he was drafted in to replace the injured Hector Barbera at the Australian Grand Prix atPhillipIsland. The prospect of racing in MotoGP at his home grand prix was a dream come true for the Aussie, and many fans and supporters hoped for a fairytale result at the often unpredictable Phillip Island. Unfortunately it was not be. Cudlin suffered a huge fall in Saturday morning’s FP3 session and was treated at the medical centre for deep tissue lacerations and abrasions, as well as a hip socket injury. Desperate to race and make the most of the opportunity, Cudlin tried bravely to ride again with the help of pain killers, however only managed a single lap on Sunday morning before withdrawing from the race.
“Obviously I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get to race. It was the chance of a lifetime and I feel like it was wasted.” Cudlin admitted. “Friday went pretty well and I was confident of moving up during the rest of the weekend, but on Saturday the cold wind caught me out and I highsided on my first flying lap with a new rear tyre. It was my mistake- but it was the same one that a lot of guys have made on the Bridgestone GP tyres. I guess I learned a hard lesson.”
Cudlin’s focus has now returned to the prospect of winning his first World Championship with his BMW Motorrad France Team at the final round of the Endurance World Championships inQatar. Trailing reigning World Champions SERT by just 9 points, the championship is up for grabs and Cudlin is keen to retain the title he’s been working for since 2005.
“SERT are still going in as favorites but this is Endurance racing and anything can happen. Our focus is on winning the race, that’s our priority now, because if we can do that, then we stand a chance for the overall championship. It’s a good mentality to have really; the pressure is on them now.” Cudlin insisted. “I’ve been doing Endurance a long time now and we’ve finally got a shot at the title. We’ve all worked so hard to get into this position and now it’s time to make the most of it. We’re gunna give it everything we’ve got atDohaand see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed!”
The final round of the Endurance World Championship will held at Doha, Losail on the 12th of November.