Team Suzuki Press Office – April 16. The third round of this year’s World Superbike Championship takes place this coming weekend at Assen in the Netherlands and all at Crescent FIXI Suzuki are aiming to keep up the impetus of the test after the last round.
Leon Camier is heading to the Dutch circuit in a confident mood following the successful test at Imola in Italy and is looking forward to racing at a track he enjoys and has performed well at in the past. Camier used a new-spec Yoshimura engine during the recent test and is eager to get back on track and to continue with the progress made in Italy.
John Hopkins has spent the last week back in America undergoing an intensive training programme to get him up to race fitness in readiness for this weekend’s event. Hopkins suffered with the after-effects of a pre-season injury – that caused him to miss the first race of the season in Australia – last time out at Imola and will be keen to get back on his Crescent FIXI Suzuki GSX-R1000 and get some track-time under his belt. Assen’s flowing nature will be kinder to Hopkins than the more-demanding track at Imola and he is looking forward to trying the improvements made in the test as he continues to get up to race fitness.
The Assen circuit is known as ‘The Cathedral of Motorcycle Racing’ and is one of the most famous race-tracks in the world. It is located in the north of The Netherlands near the town of Groningen and although the venue has altered considerably from the original road circuit, the 4.542m track still retains its magic and is a favourite with fans and riders alike.
Crescent FIXI Suzuki takes to the track for the first practice session on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s two 22-lap races, the first of which will get underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST).
“I’m definitely looking forward to Assen. It’s a track I’ve always enjoyed riding and I’ve gone good there in the past. Last year I think I got the fastest lap and was only about a 10th off the lap record. It’ll be interesting to see how we get on at Assen and how we shape up next to everyone. At the test we had in Imola after the last round, we made some progress for sure and made some steps towards where we need to be. Going third fastest was a real boost for everyone, but we know the real test is to see how we end up in the races come Sunday.
“We all know there’s a lot of work ahead, but the vibe amongst us is good and I’m sure the bigger steps will come. I just want to say thanks to all the Suzuki fans for sticking with us at the moment. The support has been fantastic, and trust us, we’re pushing!”
“After Imola, I went back to America and I’ve done five days of solid riding on my enduro bike. Whilst it’s no substitute for being on my race bike, it has given my hand a good workout and I’m happy to report that all is OK in that area. I’ve also been training hard and I’m feeling better and better, day by day. Imola is a very physical circuit and I wasn’t 100% race fit, so that was a bit frustrating, but Assen is a less-demanding track and I’m sure my progress will continue there. I’m really looking forward to getting on my Crescent FIXI GSX-R1000 again and seeing for myself the improvements made during the test at Imola.”
Jack Valentine – Team Manager:
“The Imola test was a big step forward to getting to a more-competitive level. The Yoshimura guys put in a huge effort to get the new engine spec ready for Leon to try at the test and that has allowed us to go up another level. I’m happy that John has been able to spend so much time on his dirt bike and also train hard. It may take a couple more rounds for him to be at full strength, but I’m sure we’ll see him more competitive at Assen. If Leon and John have good race set-ups and can qualify well, there’s no reason why we cannot get our best results of the season so far.”