FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier qualified for the 12th round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship in a strong seventh place at Nurburgring this afternoon.
Camier made his way into this afternoon's Superpole after positing the eighth fastest time in this morning's final qualifying session; he then backed that up with the fifth quickest lap in the second free practice. Camier progressed through Superpole 1 and 2 - with a superb lap right at the end of the second period to give him fifth overall - before finally putting his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 on to the second row and into seventh position in Superpole 3. Camier is feeling confident for tomorrow's two races and will be looking to push for a top-five finish.
John Hopkins continued to improve at the demanding 5,137m circuit that he has little experience of. He qualified for Superpole and will start from the fourth row after recording the 14th fastest time in the first session. Hopkins has made huge steps this weekend and his best time from today was over two-and-a-half seconds better than his quickest in the first free practice yesterday, which certainly points towards further improvements on race-day.
Today's Superpole was held in warm and sunny conditions at the German circuit, with Italian Max Biaggi on an Aprilia taking his first pole position of the season. Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki was second with current championship leader Marco Melandri of BMW third. Aprilia's Eugene Laverty filled the final front row position with the current World Champion, Ducati's Carlos Checa, in sixth.
The FIXI Crescent Suzuki pair will line up for the first of tomorrow's 20-lap races at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST), with the second outing scheduled for a start time three-and-a-half hours later.
"The red flag at the start of the first Superpole unfortunately ruined our plans for the rest of the session, because I had put in a really good lap on a race tyre, but it was cancelled out because of the red flag - so then I had to use a qualifier to make sure I got into Superpole 2. I then used another qualifier in Superpole 2 and managed a good enough lap to get into Superpole 3, but I then had no qualifiers left and just had to ride as fast as I could on race rubber. The second row of the grid is not bad though and as long as I can make good starts I think I can fight with the leaders. My FIXI Crescent Suzuki is working pretty well round here and I'm looking forward to the races, even though I know it's going to be a really hard day tomorrow."
"Today, like yesterday, we tried a lot of different settings to try and solve the chatter issues we've had all year. We definitely made good progress and I was happy to go over a second faster than yesterday. Because of the much higher temperature this afternoon, we used the free practice to re-test some of the tyres and managed to find some good ones for the races tomorrow. I had a little tumble today in turn one, but was able to pick up the bike and get it back to the pits ok. In Superpole 1, I chose the softest tyre because I thought it would be the best option, but the red flag came out and I never got a chance to get a good feeling for it. When I went out again, the tyre was moving around and spinning - because of the heat - and I couldn't go fast enough to get into Superpole 2. If the conditions had been cooler, I'm sure I would've managed it for sure. My grid position is not great and turns one and two are tough, so it's crucial I get some good starts - and that's my first goal."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"I think it's been another good day for the team and I'm particularly pleased with Leon. He has been on it all day and his performance in Superpole was great - and probably would've been even better had it not been for the red flag. Despite that, he got his head down, got on with the job and showed the true potential of the bike. He is where we want him to be - fighting with the top WSBK riders - and his result today is down to the hard graft he and the whole FIXI Crescent Suzuki team have put in.
"John tried his best today, but just couldn't do it. But I believe that tomorrow he will charge as hard as he can and be going all-out for good results. The tyres have been good and consistent this weekend and that's allowed us to put in a lot of quick laps. Tomorrow is going to be a tough day, but Leon, John and the team will be giving it everything we've got - as usual."
Nurburgring - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Superpole:
1 Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'53.855
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'53.904
3. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'53.912
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1'54.148
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1'54.300
7. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'55.165
14. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'56.530