Crescent Fixi Suzuki raced to its first World Superbike Championship points at the 2012 WSBK season-opener at Phillip Island in Australia today.
Although the results were not what they were looking for from Leon Camier and temporary stand-in Josh Brookes, the positive feedback and amount of valuable information gained will be invaluable for the next round of the series at Imola in a month's time.
Leon Camier - Race 1 - 17th, Race 2 - 12th:
"I wanted better results today but we've gathered masses of information in the team's first-ever WSBK race and I'm positive that we'll see a big improvement in Imola. I can't tell you how happy I am with the GSX-R's chassis - for me it has the potential to win races. The bike brakes really well, is stable in mid-corner; and I'm perfectly happy with its character. If we can get a bit more power, we'll be contenders for sure. In race one, I got pushed off the track by Giugliano and lost ground. I started chasing back to catch up, but as the race went on the tyre wore out completely and I couldn't push any harder.
"In the second race, I got hemmed-in going into turn one, lost ground and was 14th at the end of lap one. I was able to pass a lot of people on the brakes, but lost out on acceleration and top speed and again the way I had to ride to compensate destroyed the tyre at the end. This was a tough day but the potential is huge."
Josh Brookes - Race 1 - 16th, Race 2 - 15th:
"I feel better about today than the rest of the weekend. For race two, we went back to front-end ride height we used yesterday plus some softer springs. The changes made a huge difference to how the front end felt and the bike braked and turned better. We turned down the traction control for race two and although I was happier with the feel of the bike, it resulted in destroying the tyres more quickly. I'd like to thank Crescent Fixi Suzuki for giving me the chance to ride the bike. I have learnt a lot this weekend and my mind has been opened as to the potential of the Suzuki I'll be riding in the British Superbike Championship."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"Race two was much better for Leon and his lap times when he was playing catch up from 14th were excellent - good enough to run in the top four or five. We need to find a bit more power and hopefully this will come with the next-step Yoshimura GSX-R engines. I'm pleased that Josh got into the points. He has worked hard throughout the tests and this weekend and we really appreciate his efforts standing in for Hopper. Overall I am happier with the second race potential and generally we've gained a lot of good, useful information to take to the next round in Imola.
Paul Denning - Team Principal:
"Phillip Island is a brutal track if you don't have a perfect set-up and we also missed John's speed and experience with the Suzuki, so our backs were up against it right from the start. Leon's results today didn't demonstrate his potential, but his race pace in the second 22-lapper showed that he can run with the top group - but a combination of being 14th at the end of lap one and tyre-wear issues made it hard for him to get back into contention.
"I'd like to thank Josh for joining the team at short notice and working as hard as he did in the tests and this weekend. I'd also like to thank Fujio, Yohei and all the guys at Yoshimura. We need their help to go forward and we're all looking forward to the next-spec engines. This is a World Championship and it's tough at this level but we are determined to fight for good results!"
Race 1: 1 Biaggi, 2 Melandri, 3 Guintoli, 4 Sykes, 5 Smrz. 16 Josh Brookes (Crescent Fixi Suzuki), 17 Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki).
Race 2: 1 Checa, 2 Biaggi, 3 Sykes, 4 Rea, 5 Haslam, 6 Melandri. 12 Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki). 15 Josh Brookes (Crescent Fixi Suzuki).
World Championship Points: 1 Biaggi 45, 2 Melandri 30, 3 Sykes 29, 4 Checa 25, 5 Rea 22, 6 Guintoli 16. 17 Leon Camier 4. 19 Josh Brookes 1.