FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier completed a valiant comeback from injury during today’s two races at the eni FIM Superbike World Championship event at Jerez in Spain to record two top-eight finishes.
Camier had two strong races despite only getting back on a bike last Friday after a four-week lay-off following a severely broken foot. The Suzuki rider produced his best performance in the second race as he took an impressive sixth-place. Starting from seventh on the grid, he held that position until lap-eight when he got the better of Davide Giugliano. Camier tried to close the gap on the top-five, but was unable to make any impression on the leading group, so rode a smooth and sensible race to courageously bring his machine home in sixth. In race-one the Englishman lost a place on lap-one, but didn’t let that bother him as he tucked in behind the Factory BMW of Chaz Davies for the rest of the race and produced very consistent lap-times to consolidate his position at the end of the race.
Jules Cluzel always had a tough task ahead of him today after qualifying 18th yesterday. He also produced his best race in the second event as he got a great start to move to 12th at the end of the first-lap. The Frenchman continued to push and pick-off other riders as he moved through the field, eventually making his way up to eighth on lap-16; a position that held on to until the chequered flag. The first race saw him also move through the field from 18th to 11th on lap five. Cluzel chased down the rider in-front of him to try and take a top-10 finish, but as he lined up Mark Aitchinson on the final corner to take the place, the Australian pushed him wide and he was unable to make the pass and had to settle for 11th. Cluzel also had the honour of taking the highest top-speed through the speed-trap on the 4,423m Spanish circuit, as his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R recorded 279.7km/h - over 1.5km/h quicker than his nearest rival in the second race.
Today’s results for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team also moved them into fourth position in both the team and manufacturer’s championships, giving the squad the honour of top privateer team and also beating a number of factory outfits. Cluzel consolidated his 10th in the championship, just missing out on a higher place by one-point, although he did have the satisfaction of being the top-rookie. Camier also moved up to 11th in the standings even though he has had some very bad luck with injuries that have caused him to miss a large amount of the season.
Former Crescent Suzuki racer Tom Sykes took third place in race one today, which was enough to secure the World Championship title for the 28-year-old Englishman. Everyone at FIXI Crescent Suzuki would like to pass on their congratulations to Sykes; a very worthy 2013 champion. Both of today’s races were won by Eugene Laverty on an Aprilia to secure runner-up place in the championship for the Irishman.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now remain at Jerez for a post-season test on Tuesday as it begins its preparations for the 2014 season, which is provisionally scheduled to begin at Phillip Island in Australia next February.
“I am really, really happy to be honest, because I didn’t expect a good result like that. It’s one of those things you debate with yourself as to whether you can ride or not, but as soon as you get on the bike and you get a bit of confidence back, it helps you to feel comfortable. Then you think that you need to go faster and push harder and you get right back in to the job, but you also have to try and keep a level head in those situations. It was good to follow the BMW and see where they are strong and find out what we need to improve on the bike. It was also encouraging to be racing with a Factory BMW and also to beat Giugliano, who has just been putting it on the podium and racing with the leaders recently. I think we all did a good job considering everything and I can’t thank my team enough for their patience and help. I felt exhausted at the end and my foot was sore, but it was a good day all-in-all..”
“We made some changes from race-one to race-two and there were some good points about that and I enjoyed it a little bit more. I had to fight more with other riders and this was fun. The lap-time was not the best because I had to pass everybody at the beginning. I am happy with the race, because the weekend was not easy after Magny-Cours – which was a disaster for me – and we had a difficult start to the weekend and only qualified in 18th here. We made some big changes, but they were too late so they didn’t help our grid position, but that’s racing! This is the last race and now the season has finished, I have the feeling that I didn’t do my best in some races and that is probably because I was a rookie and I need more time to learn.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Not FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s most exciting race-day of the season, but all things considered it was a great effort by both riders and everyone in the team. Eighth and sixth places for Leon - considering that specialist advice would have seen him at home with his broken foot in the air still recovering – was an amazing result in context and I, on behalf of everyone in the team and all our partners, thank him for his dedication and efforts to be back here and so competitive.
“From 18th on the grid the opportunities were always going to be limited for Jules, but particularly in the second race he did really well to recover to eighth and he rode two consistent and strong races and impressed us with his determination and aggression in making so many passes.
“The 2013 season has flown by and whilst we seemed to have attracted our unfair share of bad luck, there have been many positives. Despite all that bad luck, injuries and missed races, we have still managed to beat both Factory Ducati and Honda teams in the championship and the team has done a great job to take the level of the bike to where it is now and retain fantastic durability and race-long reliability. Thanks to everybody involved in the team. We know there is work to do to improve the level of the bike to fight consistently with the front group, but those steps are being taken and we are looking to make the best of those lessons learned as we move into 2014.”
Jerez – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Race One: 1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 36’00.919: 2. Marco Melandri (BMW) +0.218: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +6.681: 4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +9.327: 5. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +20.446. 8. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +29.548. 11. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +37.008.
Jerez – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Race Two: 1. Laverty 36’05.989: 2. Sykes +2.711: 3. Guintoli +5.710: 4. Elias +15.509: 5. Chaz Davies (BMW) +21.830: 6. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +26.558. 8. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) +33.056.
World Championship Classification: 1. Sykes 447: 2. Laverty 424: 3. Guintoli 402: 4. Melandri 359: 5. Davies 290. 10. Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 175. 11. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 132.