Leon Camier raced to a confidence-building ninth place in the second race of the ninth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic today.
Camier started from 13th on the grid and made up two positions on the first lap before moving into the top-10 on lap 16 around the 5,403m Czech circuit. Camier then made his way past Michel Fabrizio on the next lap and held out to take a deserved ninth after all his hard work this weekend. He was also in the points in race one, as he steered his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R to 14th place in the very difficult conditions that faced the riders in the first 20-lap event.
John Hopkins had a tough afternoon, but can take consolation from finishing both races in the points for the first time this season, as he continues his push back to full race fitness. Hopkins brought his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R home in 15th in race one and went one place better in the second event to record a safe and solid 14th. He will now continue to improve his fitness before the next round, which will see him racing in Britain for the first time since his epic BSB battle last season.
Today's first race was held in very difficult conditions after a rain-storm soaked the Brno track, but by the time the race started it had dried considerably and most riders chose to use slick tyres in the damp - but drying - conditions. Marco Melandri on a BMW won race one and repeated the feat in the second event - which was held in warm and sunny conditions - to close the gap at the top of the championship to current leader Max Biaggi.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will next be in action at the team's - and Camier's - home WSB event of the season, when the World Superbike series heads to Silverstone in England for round 10 on Sunday August 5th. Before that though, Camier will be representing the Yoshimura Suzuki squad at the prestigious Suzuka 8-hour in Japan next weekend.
"Conditions were very tricky at the start of the first race and the track was pretty wet. Because we all knew it would dry out, we all chose slicks, but that made the opening laps a bit difficult. After my experience in Assen, I was a bit nervous in the wet and wasn't confident enough to push too hard. I know that I need to improve my confidence in these kinds of conditions. I made a bad start in race two and then started making up places before too long. It was a case of just bashing my way through and once I managed to get past Rea and Smrz, I set about trying to catch Fabrizio. Once I got past him, I went after the group ahead, but ran out of laps before I could improve my position. In the second race my FIXI Crescent Suzuki felt good and so did I. It was very encouraging to be able to run with the fast guys and if I had made a better start I'm sure I would've been challenging for a top four or five position."
"The conditions in the first race were definitely not easy. I started from the inside of the track which was the wettest part and so had to be careful at the beginning. Even so, the bike still span up a few times. I got caught in a group towards the back of the field and managed to hit the wrong button on my traction control and turned it off by mistake. I then put in some decent laps, but by then it was too late.
"The track was much better for race two. I got a good start, pushed hard and kept my head down. I was battling with Smrz and Rea and trying everything I knew to get past them, but I began to struggle with edge grip. As the race wore on, my tyre was gone, so I settled for a finish and some points. The results today were not what I wanted or expected, but were better than some before."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"Both riders went out on slicks in race one, which was the right choice of tyres because the track was drying out. Leon was a bit tentative at the beginning and that cost him places and that was more or less the same situation for John. I am very disappointed with the first race and think that the results would've been better if both riders had been able to manage their onboard electronic control system better. Leon ran a really good second race and would've finished higher up if he had made a better start. He picked riders off and that was good to see. John complained of edge grip and that prevented his progress. I am really pleased about all the work done by the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team since Aragon. The bike's acceleration has improved and now Leon and John can slipstream other bikes - something they couldn't do before. We're going straight back to the workshops and we'll be putting in the same amount of work to try and find further improvement."
Brno - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Race 1:
1. Marco Melandri (BMW) 41'59.808: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 42'01.168: 3. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 42'01.756: 4. Carlos Checa 42'02.302: 5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 42'03.640. 14. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 43'08.056. 15. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 43'11.928.
Brno - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Race 2:
1. Melandri 40'12.837: 2. Sykes 40'12.977: 3. Checa 40'19.638: 4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 40'22.677: 5. Laverty 40'24.612. 9. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 40'30.978. 14. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 40'47.712.
World Championship Classification:
1. Biaggi 271.5: 2. Melandri 250.5: 3. Sykes 212.5: 4. Checa 204.5: 5. Jonathon Rea (Honda) 187. 13. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 65.5. 21. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 14.