Team Crescent FIXI Suzuki's Leon Camier put in the third-fastest time in today's rain-hit opening Qualifying session at the Assen World Superbike Championship round in Holland as team mate John Hopkins slithered to 13th.
Camier got out quickly and made the most of the session while it was dry and before the rain started to fall at the Dutch circuit, putting in his fastest time of 1:38.468 in the opening laps. Hopkins, who went out later and was immediately into the wet conditions, was less fortunate and only did two laps, but both GSX-R1000-mounted riders are confident of more to come from both of them tomorrow, rain or shine.
Leon Camier - 3rd, 1:38.468:
"In the morning we started with a hard tyre, but the grip level wasn't so good - probably because the track was quite cold - so we changed to a softer one after about eight or nine laps. I put in some reasonable times and I'm confident I can go quicker given more dry laps. We had an idea that the rain would come in afternoon qualifying, so we made a plan to get out on the track as soon as the session started - and it worked! It began drizzling before the end of the first lap, but I managed to set a good time - third fastest - and I'm happy that our idea worked out so well. If it rains in tomorrow's qualifying session, we know we've qualified for Superpole and that's a good start."
John Hopkins - 13th, 1:39.624:
"My hand feels pretty good and I feel a lot stronger physically than I did in Imola. Assen is a less-physical circuit and this morning I felt at home on the bike almost straight away. There's been a few changes to the circuit since I last rode here in 2009 so there's a few parts I have to learn. I'm comfortable on the parts I already know well, so it's just a question of improving in a couple of places. I have a really positive feeling about the Crescent GSX-R today. I've ridden loads of laps round here in the wet so it's not going to be a problem if it rains. We got caught out a little bit at the start of this afternoon's qualifying session, but our aim was to finish in the top 16 and we achieved that goal."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"We started the day well this morning and both riders managed to get some laps in and get used to the track. The hard tyres didn't work so well because the track was a bit cold and slippery so we switched to some softer ones later in the session and were able to go quicker. Leon's happy with the bike and could've pushed harder if he had needed to. John's in really good spirits and his hand was strong enough for him to push hard in the sections he knew. All he has to do now is to work on the areas he doesn't know so well, but he's a quick learner so I have no doubt that he'll improve considerably.
"In the afternoon, Leon got out very early and was able to put in a quick lap before the rain came down and made sure of a good position going into tomorrow's qualifying and Superpole. John didn't get out as quick, and only did two laps, but I'm happy because he finished well inside the top 16 - ahead of the likes of Haslam, Biaggi and Aoyama."
Friday WSB Qualifying:
1 Sylvain Guintoli (FRA-Ducati) 1:37.600, 2 Tom Sykes (GBR-Kawasaki) 1;37.630, 3 Leon Camier (GBR-Crescent Fixi Suzuki) 1:38.468, 5 Carlos Checa (ESP-Ducati) 1:38.665, 6 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda) 1:38.873. 13 John Hopkins (USA-Crescent Fixi Suzuki) 1:39.625.