FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier was challenging for a great finish in race one of today's eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Nurburgring until a massive crash brought his race and weekend to a premature end.
Starting from 10th on the grid Camier got a solid start and was ninth at the end of the first-lap. He then caught and passed Leon Haslam and Davide Giugliano to make his way up to sixth, but as the Englishman was sizing-up to pass Sylvain Guintoli for fifth position, he hit a patch of oil on the track that had spilled from a recently-crashed bike. He lost control of his machine in the high-speed left-hander and crashed hard and was immediately assessed at trackside by the medical staff and was then flown by Air Ambulance to Stiffungs Klinicum in Koblenz. Camier was observed and scanned for potential neck injuries, but the scans proved negative and he was given the all-clear despite the massive impact. He hopes to leave hospital later today and will assess his condition in the coming days to decide on his availability to ride at the next race. Jonathan Rea of the Pata Honda team also crashed at the same spot as Camier, due to the spilt oil. He was airlifted to hospital with a broken left femur and the whole FIXI Crescent Suzuki team wishes him well for a speedy recovery. The race was red-flagged after the crash and due to Camier's inability to return to the pits he was excluded from the results.
Jules Cluzel had a tough afternoon that resulted in an eighth place in race one and a 14th in the second event after he was forced to stop when the bike cut-out on lap-16. Cluzel had to pull-off the track to re-start his machine and managed to finish the race in a points-scoring position, but was not too happy with his weekend's work.
The Yoshimura-powered FIXI Crescent Suzuki will next be in action at Istanbul Park when World Superbikes makes its first visit to Turkey on the weekend of September 13th and 15th.
"It has been a hard weekend for us, but we learnt a lot in race one and I was looking for some more improvements in the second race. I felt quite good for the first four or five laps of race one, but when my tyre dropped, the bike felt unstable and was difficult to ride, so I was quite happy to get eighth. The second race was similar to the first, but I had a massive high-side and nearly crashed on the first lap, so I realised the grip was less than race one and I tried to do my best - but it was really hard. We improved a bit with the stability out of the turns, so this is a good point and we don't have to forget this weekend because we have to work after this and learn. I was disappointed at the end of the race, because I think I could have got eighth or ninth, but the bike stopped due to an electronic problem, so I pulled-over and managed to restart and I finished much lower than I wanted to. It was a bit of a bad weekend, but Leon had more bad luck and I hope he is ok and he can come back soon and we can fight together at a good pace in the next race."
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"At Silverstone earlier this month the FIXI Crescent Suzuki showed its potential and again here Leon raced right on the pace of the podium battle, but the frightening accident with two laps to go in race one, put everything into perspective and meant that our only focus was on Leon's condition - which initially was very concerning. It's important to be calm in these situations, but we do have concerns as to why the bike that caused the oil slick was even out there on the track, given certain information that we have, and why there wasn't clear warning of the oil for the approaching riders or even a red flag - as there was in race two. We'll speak to the Race Direction to see if these matters can be explained and hopefully improved in the future. The team is relieved that Leon's injuries don't appear to be too serious, but we also send our best wishes to Johnny Rea who also through no fault of his own was involved in the crash.
"Looking forward, Jules has raced at the Istanbul Park circuit in the MotoGP™ series and loves the track and we hope that we will be able to put what was a tough couple of races behind him and get back to the rhythm of the fastest riders in Turkey. As for Leon, we will make sure that he is able to recover sufficiently and we will make an announcement as soon as possible regarding his participation. We all really hope he'll be there; he is getting everything out of the GSX-R and challenging the best riders and teams out there."
Nurburgring - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Race One: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 32'38.184: 2. Marco Melandri (BWM) +0.269: 3. Chaz Davies (BMW) +0.714: 4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +6.427: 5. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +8.526. 8. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +17.726. DNF. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki).
Nurburgring - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Race Two: 1. Davies 34.36.933: 2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) +0.132: 3. Melandri +0.366: 4. Sykes +1.186: 5. Guintoli +1.621. 14. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +1'05.331.
Championship Classification: 1. Sykes 287: 2. Guintoli 286: 3. Melandri 257: 4. Laverty 247: 5. Davies 221. 9. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 123. 11. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 114.