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Camier escapes serious injury in Moscow

FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier escaped serious injury after being involved in a 200kmh high-speed crash at the Moscow International Raceway in Russia today during practice for Sunday's 11th round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship.

The British rider smashed into Loris Baz's machine after the Frenchman high-sided directly in front of him exiting the last turn during the morning session. Camier was launched into the air and slid down most of the start straight, but walked away with nothing more than bruising to his right hip. The session, at the newly-inaugurated circuit on the outskirts of the Russian capital, was immediately red-flagged to allow marshals to clear up the debris, but Camier's bike was too damaged for his team crew to rebuild it in time for the restart. He was forced to sit out the rest of the session and his earlier time of 1'36.533 - almost half-of-a-second under his time set during Wednesday's test day - gave him 18th for the day, as tyre issues prevented him improving on this time in the afternoon session.

Team mate John Hopkins finished the day in 14th position with a time of 1'36.293 - almost a second quicker than his Wednesday test time - after he too was affected by tyre issues in the afternoon. Both riders are happy with the set-ups of their Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000s and are confident of improvements on Saturday, with the pair eager to get into the all-important Superpole tomorrow afternoon.

Today's first-ever qualifying session around the brand new 3'931m long Russian circuit was headed by Davide Giugliano on a Ducati, with reigning champion Carlos Checa - also on a Ducati - second. Current championship leader Max Biaggi was 13th.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki has one more qualifying session tomorrow morning when Hopkins and Camier will be aiming to qualify for the afternoon Superpole session, to give them a chance of good starting positions for Sunday's races, the first of which is scheduled for 12.00hrs local time (09.00hrs BST), with the second due to start at 15.30hrs local time (12.30hrs BST).

Leon Camier:
"I'm a bit sore and bashed up but when I'm on the bike there are no problems. My right hip is pretty bruised, but considering I was doing over 200kmh when I hit Baz's bike, I'm lucky I am not more injured than I am. It wasn't a nice crash and I felt I was in the air for a long time, followed by a lot of time sliding down the track. The boys did a great job to get the FIXI Crescent Suzuki ready for the afternoon timed qualifying, because there was a lot of stuff to replace. Funnily enough, when I got on the bike this afternoon, I was pretty quick straight away.

"The bike was chattering a lot so we tried different tyres, but the problem wasn't solved. In the end, I did my fastest lap on old tyres. The track has improved since the test, is getting quicker; and is not too bad when you get into it. I'm happy with the bike's set-up. The team will make a full check of the bike and will look at all the telemetry to see if we can pin-point where the problem is. Hopefully I will not be too sore when I wake up tomorrow morning and we can qualify well."

John Hopkins:
"I know we can be better than this position for sure. I am happy with both the performance and set-up of my FIXI Crescent Suzuki and the base setting that we found at the test on Wednesday is pretty good. The track now has more rubber down and it definitely feels a bit better. Our package is good and I am feeling confident, though the bike is better than me at the moment and maybe I didn't put in a decent-enough run at the end. Our problem is tyres - specifically the rear. There is only one type of rear I can get to work on my GSX-R, so we're going to have to manage them carefully so we have enough for race day."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"Leon had a pretty big crash this morning, soon after he had set the fastest lap, and hurt his hip, but fortunately he was able to ride again in the afternoon. Despite bad bruising and discomfort walking, he went pretty quickly at the start of qualifying this afternoon and would've been much further up the order if it had not have been for the tyre consistency problems, which had been causing the chatter.

"It's good to see John's confidence coming back and without similar issues to Leon he should end up qualifying with a good grid position. Both riders are happy with their bikes but this series is so competitive that fractions-of-a-second can make big differences, so it's necessary to have everything working well - and consistently."

Moscow - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Friday Qualifying:
1. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1'35.074
2. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1'35.284
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1'35.751
4 Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'35.772
5 Chas Davies (Aprilia) 1'35.828
14. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'36.293
18. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1:36.533