Team Suzuki Press Office – February 18. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier continued his good run of form in the pre-season WSB tests by topping the timesheets on the first day of the Official eni FIM Superbike World Championship test at Phillip Island today.
Camier made consistent progression this afternoon around the 4,445m Australian circuit, before setting a fastest time of 1’31.243, more than half-a-second quicker than Max Biaggi’s lap record. Camier completed 44 laps in the sweltering Phillip Island heat as air temperatures reached 35°C during the afternoon session. Camier had used this morning as a shakedown test to assess his newly-built Suzuki GSX-R1000 after the huge crash in last week’s tests and, following a few adjustments by his crew during the lunch period, he put the Yoshimura-powered machine to good use to storm his way to the top of the charts.
Jules Cluzel made steady steps forward as he utilised today’s sessions to work his way back to confidence following his operation for the injury he sustained in last week’s test. Cluzel worked thoroughly and methodically as he completed 62 laps throughout the day. He gradually improved his time and made consistent runs as he continued his steep learning curve on the FIXI Crescent Suzuki Superbike. Cluzel finished the day in 14th position with a best time of 1’32.817, just a second-and-a-half away from his team-mate.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki has one more day of pre-season testing tomorrow as it makes its final preparations in readiness for the first races of the season this Sunday.
“We needed to change some stuff after the bike had been re-built, so this morning was there no big hurry to push from the start. We changed the bike a bit in the lunch-break, because unfortunately it didn’t quite feel the same as it did before I smashed it up last week! The feeling came back and we also had to change quite a bit because of the heat, I did the same lap-time in the cooler conditions last week as I did in the heat today, so I think we did a pretty good job. It’s very close at the top, so it doesn’t really count for anything, because the race will be difficult and the other guys have got some time to perfect what they’ve got. We are in quite good shape at the moment, but we know there is still a lot to do for the rest of this week.”
“I am happy with the test today, because I did a lot of laps and improved a little bit every time I went out. They weren’t big steps, because big steps with a Superbike are very dangerous – as I managed to find out at the test last Thursday! We tried many things today and didn’t really push for a fast lap time, but tried to work in the best way and find the setting that is good for me. Tomorrow we have another test and I will try to continue to improve and then see what will happen from there.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It’s been a very successful day’s work, especially if we consider that at the end of the unofficial test, Jules was in hospital and Leon’s bike was in the trees outside turn 12! We had a few technical issues with Leon’s newly-built bike this morning, but the crew worked methodically through those and Leon was able to use that to his advantage this afternoon. He matched his time from the unofficial tests, but in much hotter conditions and coming back from the huge crash, so it great to see his confidence build step-by-step and at the end of the day show his true potential.
“Jules did a great job today, because things were looking very difficult after the first day of last week’s test! Making a lot of laps, regaining some feeling and confidence and understanding the effects of the changes that crew were making, means he has ended up with a good base to take forward. His repaired arm isn’t causing him any problems on the track and we now have something solid to work with tomorrow as we approach the first round of the championship.”
Phillip Island – Official Test Classification: 1. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1’31.243: 2. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1’31.396: 3. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’31.401: 4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’31.452: 5. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’31.485. 14. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1’32.817.