Australia’s Damian Cudlin is poised to make a surprise return to the IDM Superbike Championship next week, joining the Weber-Diener Kawasaki Team alongside fellow Australian Alex Phillis. Cudlin will return to a happy hunting ground in the IDM series, riding a Dunlop shod ZX10R in the Superbike class.
The former IDM champion looked set to claim the Superbike title last year after dominating the first 3 rounds of the series for the Dutch based RAC Racing Team, however a series of mechanical failures saw his title ambitions dashed, turning the Australian’s attentions towards MotoGP at the end of 2013.
Cudlin’s foray of 5 Grand Prix with the PBM MotoGP Team was a difficult one, struggling to be competitive on the team’s self-constructed CRT machine. Although discussions took place to remain in MotoGP for 2014, Cudlin shifted his focus towards the Endurance World Championship and expected to continue with the BMW Motorrad France Team, however a late withdrawal from the series forced Cudlin onto the sidelines in 2014.
Cudlin accepted an offer from current World Champions Suzuki Endurance Racing Team as 4th rider for the opening round of the Endurance World Championship and quickly showed his potential- even out pacing one of the team’s regulars despite limited time on the bike. A SERT contract for LeMans followed although a permanent place for 2014 still eluded him.
The new deal with Weber-Diener Kawasaki is an exciting prospect for Cudlin who plans to “reboot” his 2014 season and hopes to add a Kawasaki into the mix of top manufacturers in the IDM series.
“I’m really excited to be returning to the IDM series and I’m hoping I can get this season back on a track.” Cudlin explained. “I had a tough off-season last year and although I received various offers to race, none of them were competitive or realistic without self-sponsored funding. I chose to wait for a good offer to come up; but nothing came, until now. I feel like this is an exciting prospect for me and I’m grateful to Emil Weber and Evren Bischoff for this opportunity.”
The Weber-Diener Kawasaki Team fielded two entries in the opening round of the IDM Championships last month, with Gabor Rizmayer in Superbike and fellow Aussie Alex Phillis in Superstock. Cudlin will replace Rizmayer in the Superbike category for the next 3 races- Zolder, Oschersleben and Nurburgring.
Team manager Evren Bischoff is equally excited by the partnership.
“We are very pleased to have Damian in the Weber-Diener Kawasaki Team. He has proven many times that he is one of the best motorcycle racers in the IDM and this is what we want. With his services, we hope for our team to evolve and aim to establish ourselves among the top teams in the IDM.”
Although hopeful of a quick return to the front of the field, Cudlin insists that a realistic approach is necessary to achieve this goal with his new team.
“Honestly, I don’t expect to be at the front right away. The bike is completely new to me, I’ve had no testing at all, and the last time I raced was at the Valencian Grand Prix in November! Plus, all the top teams tested at Zolder last week, so we’ll definitely be playing catch up during the first weekend. My plan is to use the first race as a test session and build it up bit by bit. If we work well together I’m confident we’ll be competitive soon enough.”
Cudlin will make his debut on the Weber-Diener Kawasaki at round 2 of the IDM Superbike Championship on 30th-1st of June, in Zolder, Belgium.