Team Suzuki Press Office – June 29. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier will start tomorrow’s seventh round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Imola from the second row of the grid after qualifying in sixth place this afternoon.
Camier qualified for this afternoon’s Superpole after recording the ninth-fastest time in the two qualifying sessions. He made his way comfortably through the first part of Superpole with the seventh-quickest lap and followed that up in the next session – using his first qualifying tyre – to post the fourth-best time. In Superpole 3, Camier set his fastest time at the start of the session with his second qualifier, before it was red-flagged due to a massive crash by Loris Baz. When it was re-started Camier tried to improve his time with a used qualifying tyre, but was unable to better his earlier lap.
Camier will start tomorrow’s two races from sixth on the grid onboard his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R, which will give him a good chance of being with the lead group right from the start.
Jules Cluzel had a disappointing Superpole, as he was eliminated in the first session after he posted the 14th-quickest lap. He had improved on his time from yesterday during this morning’s second qualifying session and finished in 13th place. Cluzel was confident of a good Superpole, but just couldn’t make the tyre work for him around the 4,936m Imola circuit and will now have push hard from the start to move through the pack tomorrow.
This afternoon’s Superpole was held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures hitting 51°C. Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes took pole position as he posted a new track best time to seal his sixth successive Superpole victory of the season.
The FIXI Crescent Suzuki pair will take to the track at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST) for the first of tomorrow’s two 21-lap races, with the second event scheduled for 15.30hrs local time (14.30hrs BST).
“I’m pretty happy with qualifying to be honest, but I still feel that I could have got a better lap-time out of the bike, because the qualifiers I used in Superpole 2 and 3 were both very different laps and if had strung the two together it would have been a step quicker. My last lap certainly could have been better, but it is good to be somewhere near the front and to have a semi-decent place to start from tomorrow. I think we’ve done a good job on race tyres and so we’re quite happy with how the weekend has gone so far and now we just need to see how the races go tomorrow.”
“I am disappointed with today as I was hoping to have a good Superpole because it seems that when I use a qualifier the bike appears to work very well, but today it just didn’t feel right. On the first exit I tried to improve on my times from yesterday and this morning, but my lap-time was not as good as it was from a tyre that had done 22-laps, so something must have been wrong. When we used the qualifier it felt like I had less grip than a race tyre and the bike was moving about a lot. At the end I was only 14th and didn’t go through to Superpole 2, so I was very frustrated by this. I am still learning and we have two races tomorrow, so I am happy about that because it gives me 42-laps and a chance to improve.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Leon and his crew have been working hard all weekend to improve the pace of the GSX-R and today’s qualifying result – putting the bike on the second row – is very positive and we have high hopes for a decent showing during the races. The engine performance – greatly assisted by Yoshimura – has improved a lot this season and at some circuits, Imola being one of them, we now have an opposite problem to the one in 2012, in that getting the power down smoothly without it spinning or wheelying is the biggest challenge and we are working hard to achieve the best solution. Leon’s always a consistent and strong racer, so let’s hope he can get a good start and challenge with the fastest guys tomorrow.
“Jules is at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of the qualifying result today. It really didn’t work out for him and he has been struggling to find a rhythm all weekend. Free Practice was probably our best session with him, so we will go back to something as close as we can to that setting and hope that Jules can do what he has all season long and that is to positively surprise us in the races and show what a fighter he is!”
Imola – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’45.981: 2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +0.575: 3. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +0.732: 4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.876: 5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +950: 6. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +1.184. 14. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki +2.639.