Valencia, Spain: As it could not have been otherwise, even the last qualifying session of the year has been accompanied by drizzle, which started just after a few minutes forcing all the riders to turn back to the pit box. Jules Cluzel was unfortunately slowed down by the traffic on track, as everybody tried to set a fast lap time, and qualified 19th on starting grid. The expectations of Raffaele were great after his third position on the second free practice. The Napolitan rider showed an impressive performance in wet conditions, but unfortunately experienced some technical problems during the qualifying and ended up 28th.
During this last race of the season at Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia both riders of the team were set to end on a good note this emotional and tricky championship 2011, but even this time the infortune was right behind the edge. Rain, contacts and a crash changed the storyboard of a race which seemed at the beginning to bring the long deserved results of the hard work from the season. Jules Cluzel had the sixth place in his grasp after just a handful of laps and Raffaele De Rosa came from 28th to 13th place in the race.
What seemed to be the happy end of the tale was transformed by the last ten laps into a bitter reality through an unpredictable series of events, which lead Jules Cluzel to end in thirteenth position and causing Raffaele De Rosa to crash out.
The whole DARK DOG Team would like to thank the NGM Forward Racing Team for the great work they have done and is proud having been sponsored its riders during this season! All the best and MORE ENERGY for the upcoming season in 2012!
"I cannot be satisfied considering how the race went. I started with the idea to be careful during the first laps, just following the riders in front of me, as the conditions were really tricky and especially unpredictable. However, I found my rhythm immediately and so I got myself in sixth position after starting nineteenth on grid. I was still gaining time compared to the leading group when I tried to overtake Alex De Angelis, unfortunately we touched each other, because Alex let go his brake while coming towards me, forcing me to pass through the gravel. This situation set me back to nineteenth position when there was only one third of the race left. While making my comeback I took many risks because I absolutely wanted to end up in the top15 and finally I got it. Anyway, a bitter-sweet taste remains in my mouth as we really would have been able to fight for the leading positions today and the fact that I did the third fastest lap during the race underlines it."
"It has been a really tricky race due to the weather conditions, I started well and when I passed the first time the starting line I already regained eight places. During the following laps I had to keep an eye on the water temperature, which was a little bit too high for an optimal performance of my engine. Nevertheless I was able to climb up numerous positions, establishing a pace that kept me close to the top ten. Towards the end of the race I had to slow down my rhythm to avoid a crash due to heavier rain. Unfortunately I didn't handle it and slipped three laps before the end of the race. From my point of view, the race should have been suspended earlier since the conditions compromised the performance of all of us and, in fact, it's not by chance that the lap times increased nearly ten seconds.
Anyway, I'm really upset about the result because I would have preferred to score points for the team in order to thank them for the great effort and support they offered me during the last few months. Until the beginning of the season I would have taken for granted the help of my technical staff but now I have learned that this is not always the case, especially in a category in which nearly any rider can win a race and every single lap counts in order to be more competitive."