Team Suzuki Press Office – September 13. FIXI Crescent Suzuki had a very eventful first day at the eni FIM Superbike World Championship in Turkey which saw Leon Camier in hospital awaiting an operation on a broken foot and Jules Cluzel end the day in a respectable sixth position.
Camier had a high-speed high-side on the dusty and slippery Istanbul Park during the early stages of this morning’s first free practice session. He was immediately examined by the Clinica Mobile doctors, where a fracture of the right foot was identified and he was transferred to hospital for further scans to assess the level of the injury. Following in-depth examinations Camier was diagnosed with seven fractures of his right foot which will require an operation to pin some of the breaks this evening. He will miss the remainder of this weekend and will return home to begin his rehabilitation and make a racing comeback as soon as possible.
Cluzel immediately got up-to-pace at the 5,340m Turkish circuit and topped the leader-board at the beginning of the first practice, as he put his previous experience of the track to good use. He again made further steps in this afternoon’s first qualifying session and finished the day in sixth place, just a second away from the fastest time set by Sylvain Guintoli. Cluzel is looking to make further advances tomorrow on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R and be in a position to challenge the top-five on race-day.
The French rookie will have one more qualifying session tomorrow morning to secure his position in Superpole and then battle it out in the afternoon to get the best grid position for Sunday’s two 18-lap races.
“It has been a long day because we had a 90-minute session this morning, which was good because we were able to ride a little bit more. The track was really dirty at the beginning of the day and it was really slippery, which made it difficult to understand what to do on the bike, so I waited a bit before pushing too hard. I tried not to use too many tyres this morning so that I had more for the rest of the weekend. I think it is a good thing to use a tyre and understand its life for the race and we were able to do that today. I do have an issue in the electronics; it’s hard for me to understand as I don’t have much experience, but I have had the problem here and at Nurburgring, so we need to work on that and understand what is happening. I am one-second from the fastest rider, but my pace is good, although I am not too comfortable yet so I need to do something about that and get more stability tomorrow and for the races.
“Leon had some bad luck this morning and had a massive high-side. I looked to see where it happened and it was really fast. I hope he is ok and will be back racing soon. I think he is not so lucky to crash, but he is lucky to not be too injured from such a big crash. I hope that he is back at the race-track tomorrow.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The whole FIXI Crescent Suzuki team has been working really hard all season to improve the level of the GSX-R and get amongst the podium fight and we have managed to meet a lot of the performance targets, but unfortunately the black cloud of bad luck that has followed Leon around – pretty much all season – has struck with a vengeance in the last two weekends. The Nurburgring incident was bad enough, but today’s accident on a very green and slippery circuit, when he wasn’t even pushing for any lap-time, has really taken the wind out of the team’s sails. Leon is basically ok and the injuries are relatively minor, but they will still take some significant time and effort to recover from. He and the team – I genuinely believe – deserve something better, but we can only deal with what is in front of us, be completely positive; and move forward.
“Jules has had some problems finding the right feeling from the bike today, but even with those restrictions, he is still fast and quite competitive. He’ll be carrying the GSX-R flag for the rest of the weekend alone. He likes the race-track and if we can get some of those issues ironed out for tomorrow, I hope he can represent the team very strongly come the races on Sunday.”
Istanbul – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Qualifying 1: 1. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’56.190: 2. Marco Melandri (BMW) +0.559: 3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +0.759: 4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.980: 5. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +1.016: 6. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +1.032.