Team Suzuki Press Office – April 28. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier completed an amazing return from the serious knee injury he suffered two weeks ago to record two top-nine finishes at today’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship races at Assen.
Camier saved the best until the second race where he got a great start from 18th on the grid to be up in 11th by the end of lap one. He continued to progress through the field as he chased team-mate Jules Cluzel, before the pair got involved in a inter-team battle through the mid-part of the race. Camier and Cluzel swapped places a number of times as they jostled for seventh position, before Camier got the better of his team-mate and held on to that place for the remainder of the race. Unfortunately for Cluzel he couldn’t challenge the Englishman again, because an electronic throttle system problem caused him to retire on lap-16.
Camier had already shown huge determination in race one, as he got a good start and was in 12th by the end of the first lap. He again made his way through the field before getting involved with ex-World Champion Carlos Checa. The FIXI Suzuki racer on his Yoshimura-powered machine, made a brave and fast pass on the inside of the Spaniard through a left-hand turn – with his injured knee firmly placed on the asphalt. Camier then held his position for the rest of the race and brought his bike home in ninth.
Cluzel had mixed emotions this afternoon as he also looked like securing a pair of top-eight finishes before fate dealt its hand in race two. Cluzel produced an impressive ride in race one to take eighth place at the flag. He made a good start from 10th on the grid and consolidated his position with some consistent laps which saw him running at a strong pace. In race two he again looked strong as he battled with Camier, but his weekend drew to a premature close when his bike stopped out on track and he was unable to continue.
Both of today’s races were held in bright sunshine with track temperatures rising to 23°C, a big difference from the two practice days. Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki was very commanding in race one as he won by almost nine seconds. Race two saw Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty take the spoils and his team-mate Sylvain Guintoli kept his championship lead after he took a third and sixth places.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now return to the workshop in England before heading to Monza in Italy for the fourth round of the season on Sunday May 12th.
“I am really happy considering the way everything has gone this weekend. In the first race we changed the set-up dramatically from the warm-up and took a gamble, but then in the second race we changed it a lot again, but this time we made it feel more like the bike I am used to. I felt like I had the pace to run towards the front and I was making some big passes in race two and then got caught up with Jules and he really battled me. I got frustrated because I thought I could have got to the front group, but we lost out a bit and then I was in a sort of a race of my own. If I could have got to the group ahead I think I would have been comfortable and probably got a good result. Overall I am happy, even though at the end of the race my leg and body felt as if they were in bits; I was just pleased to finish both races.”
“I am happy with the first race because we had a plan and tried to improve and understand the bike setting for me better. We tried to work more on the bike this afternoon and made some changes, but for me these didn’t work and made things feel worse, so I tried to do my best to finish well. I was in eighth, but we had an electronic problem and had to stop. This is a bad thing because this is not my favourite track and we had a problem that meant we couldn’t finish, but at the end we know it was possible to score two top-eight finishes. This is racing though and I will try my best at the next race.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The whole FIXI Crescent Suzuki team is very proud of Leon today. Seventh and ninth are not his target results, but when we consider where he was two weeks ago and the physical condition of his leg, just to sit on the bike was impressive and race to that level was really quite amazing! Added to the injury was some very bad luck in missing the whole of the only dry qualifying session, and therefore missing the extra laps and set-up time in Superpole, which meant he had to start at the back of the grid. Today’s result augers well for when he is fully fit and we can have a proper weekend, get the bike right for the races; and allow him to challenge the front group.
“Jules has done a very impressive job; this track is physically very difficult on a Superbike and we honestly struggled to get the bike stable and predictable enough for him over the course of Saturday. The team managed to improve the bike a little for race-day and Jules didn’t deserve the failure – his first DNF of the season. We are getting closer to finding a base for him; we have to remember this is only his third Superbike event and his expectation is very high, so we will be doing everything we can to give him a bike that he can perform on well in Monza.”
Assen – eni FIM Superbike – Race One: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’35.893: 2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +8.786: 3. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +8.792: 4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +9.225: 5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) +14.231. 8. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +24.751: 9. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +30.311.
Assen – eni FIM Superbike – Race Two: 1. Laverty 1’38.085; 2. Sykes +0.089: 3. Baz +5.848: 4. Rea +5.890: 5. Chaz Davies (BMW) +7.359. 7. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +21.095. DNF. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki).
Championship Classification: 1. Guintoli 111: 2. Laverty 83: 3. Davies 83: 4. Sykes 83: 5. Rea 63. 9. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 41: 11. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 30.