Team Suzuki Press Office – May 12. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier rode to a determined and extremely impressive seventh place in today’s second eni FIM Superbike World Championship race at Monza in Italy.
Starting from eighth on the grid, Camier held that position over the first three laps and kept in contention with the leading group. As the race wore on the Englishman pushed on through the field and was up to sixth by lap-six. He then got involved in a battle with Davide Giugliano and Michel Fabrizio over the rest of the race, before Camier crossed the finishing line seventh to confirm his comeback to fitness, equal his best result of the season so far; and move into the top-10 in the championship. Jules Cluzel had a second race to forget as he crashed on the second lap and ended his weekend early. He was mainly uninjured in the accident – he lost the nail on his little finger – but was very disappointed with the outcome of the race. The victory in the second event was taken by Eugene Laverty on an Aprilia.
Race one saw both Camier and Cluzel get solid starts and maintain positions in the top-10, before a mistake on lap five cost one of the FIXI Suzuki racers dearly. Cluzel missed his braking point going into the first chicane and went straight on and into the run off zone. He quickly re-joined the race – after losing five places – but was then further penalised with a ride-through penalty for not taking the correct line through the run-off area. Cluzel came into the pit-lane two laps later to take his penalty and re-joined the race in last place, fought to try and catch up to the closest riders but was unable to bridge the gap and had to settle for 17th position, his first non-scoring finish of the season so far.
Camier fared better than his team-mate in the first event, as he pushed hard on the demanding and fast 5,777m Italian circuit to bring his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R home in ninth place, despite struggling with braking issues for the majority of the race. The race was won by local hero Marco Melandri, after a dramatic final few laps involving the Italian, Tom Sykes and Laverty which saw the trio swap places regularly, before Melandri came out on top with Sykes and Laverty coming home in second and third respectively.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki now heads back to the UK for its first home race of the season, as the European round of the WSBK championship with be held at Donington Park in England on Sunday May 26th.
“I had a pretty good start in the second race and got past Jules on the first lap. I then tried to get in a rhythm and not lose the tow. It took me a lap or two to get the feel and confidence in the brakes because we’d made a change to them for the second race. They felt ok, not as good in performance, but more consistent, so at least I could race with them. The set-up of the bike also worked better and let me do a bit more in the race, but I think the results today are what we can expect at this track. Yoshimura and the Crescent team have done a great job and the engine performance is in a different world to last year, but I don’t think we could have done much more here.”
“I made a mistake in the first race and had to do a ride-through. I think this was a bit harsh because I had already lost 10-seconds and so for me there was no chance of any points. In the second race we worked a lot on the bike and made some changes to help with the traction, but I lost the rear for the first time in four races and crashed. I think I made a mistake, but the bike set-up was completely new and with a different feeling because we changed quite a lot. Maybe I need to adapt more before going for fast laps, so we will need to learn from this. I got zero points this weekend, but I am already looking to get to the next race, because this one was not the best for me.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“First and foremost the whole team is very relieved that Jules is largely uninjured after what looked like a very nasty accident in the second race. Race-day just didn’t pan out in the way we were hoping for with Jules. He had a great pace in race one before running on at the chicane, and then the ride-through destroyed any opportunity to see what he could have done. After settling in calmly on lap one of the second race, the crash put an end to his day. I have to be honest and say we are struggling between us – the team and Jules – to fully understand the best way to get him comfortable on the GSX-R for all conditions and circuits. There is still some significant work to do to find the right base, but that said, he’s an inspiring racer and we’re sure he’ll bounce back strongly at Donington.
“For Monza I think Leon had a pretty good day! We struggled with a braking problem in the first race, but in race two the bike was a lot closer to the others. In the end we only got beaten by a factory Kawasaki, a factory BMW and the Aprilias, which on a track like this is no shame. The engine performance is night-and-day better than 2012, thanks for which I have to give to our guys at Crescent and our partners at Yoshimura Japan, who are working so hard for us. Apart from the last four or five laps – where we ran out of grip – Leon’s pace was on a par with the front group. We are coming in to some tracks that will suit the bike, such as Donington and Portimao. Leon’s really done well there before and we’re positive of further progress towards the podium.”
Monza – eni FIM Superbike – Race One: 1. Marco Melandri (BMW) 30’54.925: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.085: 3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +0.107: 4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +1.844: 5. Chaz Davies (BMW) 7.629. 9. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +16.668. 17. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 59.545.
Monza – eni FIM Superbike – Race Two: 1. Laverty 30’59.653: 2. Melandri +0.143: 3. Sykes +0.725: 4. Guintoli +1.619: 5. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) +9.965. 7. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +12.241. DNF: Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki).
Championship Classification: 1. Guintoli 137: 2. Laverty 124: 3. Sykes 119: 4. Melandri 96: 5. Chaz Davies (BMW) 94. 10. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 46. 11. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 41.