Team Suzuki Press Office – April 2. Leon Camier broke the Imola World Superbike lap record today and was the third-fastest rider on track during the Crescent FIXI Suzuki team’s test using a new Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 engine.
Following on from yesterday’s second round of the World Superbike Championship at the Italian circuit, Camier completed 57 laps and finished more than half-a-second under the lap record and a full second quicker than his best lap of the race weekend.
Team mate John Hopkins put in fewer laps due to discomfort from his arm – an injury he sustained in testing for the opening round at Phillip Island in February – but he came away from the session positive after trying several new suspension settings and his next goal set for the third round of the series at Assen later this month.
Leon Camier – 57 laps – 1:47.238:
“That was a long, hard day but I’m happy with the progress we made. We were able to try out lots of different things without the pressure and stress of a race weekend and we have made significant steps forward. We’ve put in a lot of laps and got a lot done in many areas. The new-specification Yoshimura engine we tried today is a good improvement, but there’s more to come and that makes me feel very optimistic about the future. It was good to finish in the top three today and also beat the lap record.”
John Hopkins – 11 laps – 1:50.378:
“My arm was pretty sore after yesterday, but I was determined to do some work and help the boys out today. They gave me a few things to try out, including some new suspension, and I was able to give them quite a bit of positive feedback even though I didn’t put in a whole heap of laps. Towards the end of the first session, my arm started to become a problem again, so we took the decision not to start the second session. There’s nearly three weeks before the next round at Assen and that will allow me to get it much stronger. Assen is not such a physical track as Imola, so I am looking forward to it and being much more competitive.”
Jack Valentine – Team Manager:
“We’re all very proud and happy with what Leon did today. He put in the laps and worked hard all day. Setting the third quickest lap and breaking the lap record was just reward for all his efforts. It feels good to see a Crescent Fixi Suzuki up there with the fastest guys and to finish the day ahead of the likes of Biaggi, Checa and Haslam.
“John didn’t do many laps, but those he did were very productive and positive. He evaluated a new set of forks, which he said gave him more feel and were also more stable. We gave him the afternoon off because there was no point putting his arm under further stress. He’s got time to improve his condition now before going to Assen, where I’m sure that he will be a force again.
“The new-spec engine from Yoshimura has given the GSX-R1000 better acceleration and that, together with the improvements in the electronics, have made us all feel very satisfied indeed. Of course, there’s still more work to be done but, after today’s performance, we all feel very motivated and excited about the rest of the season.
“On a different note, the Crescent Fixi Suzuki team would all like to send our thoughts and best wishes to the family and friends of Joan Lascorz. We all hope he makes a full recovery after his heavy crash today.”
Imola Test Results: 1 Sykes (GBR-Kawasaki) 1:46.609, 2 Rea (GBR-Honda) 1:47.121, 3 Leon Camier (GBR-Crescent Fixi Suzuki) 1:47.238. 19 John Hopkins (USA-Crescent Fixi Suzuki) 1:50.378.