Team Suzuki Press Office – October 19. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier has continued with his amazing comeback at this weekend’s Spanish round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship by progressing all the way to Superpole 3 this afternoon.
Camier qualified for the Superpole due to another impressive performance in this morning’s final qualifying session which saw him finish in ninth place. He approached the Superpole with the same calm and dedicated manner that he has shown all weekend and after using a Pirelli qualifying rear tyre in the first session he easily made his way to part two with sixth position. The Englishman is still suffering the after-effects of the accident at Istanbul just four–weeks ago that left him hospitalised and needing surgery on seven broken bones in his right foot. Camier again used a qualifying tyre in his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R in Superpole 2 and repeated his performance from the first session to record sixth. The final part of Superpole for 2013 saw the Suzuki-man push as hard as he could on race-tyres to get a good grid position and he was pleased to secure a place at the front of the third row with seventh position. Camier will now be looking to be in the lead pack from the start of tomorrow’s races and plans to end the season with a flourish.
Jules Cluzel saw the disappointment of not qualifying for Superpole this morning quickly disappear, after some major setting changes to his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R enabled him make huge improvements in the final free practice session. The Frenchman couldn’t get the feel or grip he was after in the second qualifying session and was only able to finish 18th fastest, a position that forced his elimination from Superpole. His crew worked tirelessly to change almost every setting on his machine and it came to fruition as Cluzel recorded the second-fastest time in the session – almost half-of-a-second quicker than he had been all weekend so far. Cluzel will now need to make good starts in tomorrow’s races so that he can put today’s advances to good use.
Today’s sessions were held in humid conditions, but the threat of rain never materialised. Eugene Laverty will start tomorrow’s two 21-lap races from pole position, with championship leader Tom Sykes second on the grid, with the third protagonist that is in with a chance of securing the title on Sunday, Sylvain Guintoli, in fifth. The first race will get underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST) with the final race of the season heading for the off at 15.30hrs local time (14.30hrs BST).
“I am really pleased with the result, especially considering that I haven’t ridden the bike properly since Germany and had two massive crashes in that time. I have got my confidence back up and the bike was starting to feel more natural and I enjoyed that. We used the qualifying tyre in Superpole 1 and we didn’t really need to; in hindsight we could have saved it till the last session and then I think we could have been further up the grid – at least the next row. All-in-all, considering everything that has happened I am pretty happy with today. I really want to thank the whole team for keeping me calm and letting me build my confidence, rather than asking for more and creating other problems. The whole situation has been dealt with really well and I thank them for that.”
“It has been a strange day and I have had my worst qualifying of the year and also one of my best practice sessions. Yesterday I felt uncomfortable on the bike, so I was looking to improve today, but that didn’t happen and it was a bit of a disaster. I got stuck in the same lap-time and did all of them in the same tenth-of-a-second. I was really disappointed because it left me 18th and meant I couldn’t do Superpole. Les decided to change the bike and put the setting to how we had it at the winter test here, which was the second time I rode the FIXI Crescent Suzuki. The bike was much better, faster and easier to ride and I am disappointed we didn’t make this change before, but I at least had the chance to smile today and that was enough for me! I needed to prove that I was fast and that we just needed to set-up the bike. Tomorrow I will be looking for a comeback but it’s difficult to come from 18th here at Jerez and get a good result, but I will try my best and see what we can do.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Leon’s done another stellar job today for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team and continued the great work that he started yesterday. The races will be tough from both a fitness and physical pain point of view, but he’s put himself in a solid position to perform at his best – whatever limitations might be there due to the pain and fatigue that he might be suffering. Adrenalin is a great healer though and when the lights go out to race at a great circuit like this at Jerez, I’m sure the throttle will be wide open and the problems of the last few weeks will be the last thing on his mind.
“It’s been a frustrating day for Jules and his crew; even though the lap-time gaps are very small we didn’t do enough this morning to achieve a decent time and despite everybody’s best efforts, including the rider – as we saw on the action footage he was definitely trying – we just didn’t have enough to progress to Superpole. The boys changed the bike quite considerably for the free practice and we went from 18th to second, so it was very much a case of what might have been. Jules has nothing to lose tomorrow and his confidence should have been boosted by what happened in free practice, so we are hoping he can end the season in a very positive way.”
Jerez – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole: 1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’40.620: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.048: 3. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +0.219: 4. Marco Melandri (BMW) +0.310: 5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.338. 7. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +1.217. 18. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) – no Superpole time.