Crescent FIXI Suzuki's Leon Camier talks about training, fitness and the opening two rounds of this year's World Superbike Championship.
Well that's two races and a very constructive test at Imola all under the belt. Australia was always going to be a hard one for us because it was the team's debut in World Superbikes and the first opportunity for us to see what level we were compared to our competitors.
Losing John Hopkins before the race was a bit of a blow, but we were all very grateful to Josh Brookes for stepping in at short notice. It was a bit of a hard ask for him because the WSBK bike was so different to the one he rides in BSB, so he had to spend a lot of the time just learning the bike.
At Imola we were back to full strength - in one sense anyway. John was back, but it was obvious that he wasn't at 100% after a five-month layoff. Physically he was fit, but he wasn't race fit, but that's something he'll improve in the next few races for sure. I think we know John's determination and I saw that close hand at Imola when he came round the outside of me in one of the races! I had a feeling that somebody was right up my backside, but didn't know who it was until I saw my team mate trying to pass me! We're going to see the John we all know pretty soon. Assen is less physical circuit than Imola, so I expect John to be more competitive there.
For me, the biggest change from this time last year to the same time this year is my fitness: At the end of 2010 I got glandular fever and it really knocked me sideways. There were times last year when I couldn't sleep at night and times when I could hardly keep awake during the day. It was a big struggle for a great part of last season and it was made worse because it affected my training. Some days I would try and do some light training and my body wouldn't let me do it and that was very frustrating. Gradually throughout 2011 my condition began to improve, but it took a lot longer than I wanted or expected. It's hard to explain what it was like, but I was sure glad when it was finally over and I could get back to my normal life again - and that meant training properly!
I do a lot of my training in Andorra, where I live, and there are a variety of possibilities. There's a good gym and superb trails for enduro riding or mountain biking as well as good roads for cycling. One day recently, I snowboarded in the morning and got on my enduro bike in the afternoon!
I also spend a lot of time in Monte Carlo, because that's where my personal trainer lives and he's the one who got me into cycling. A lot of motorsports people are into cycling because it is a non-impact sport and one that gives you a good workout and is a lot of fun as well. Through my trainer, I met pro cyclists Tom Boonen and Simon Gerrans and I often go on rides with them. This year, Boonen has already won the Tour of Qatar, Tour of Flanders and the famous Paris-Roubaix race last weekend. He became only the second man to win the Paris-Roubaix - sometimes called the 'Hell of the North' because a lot of the time is spent riding on cobblestones or unpaved roads - for the fourth time. Gerrans is the current Aussie road race champion, this year's winner of the Tour Down Under and the Milan-San Remo race in March, so he and Tom are no slouches. It's great fun training with these guys and it's keeping my fitness levels right up there.
After the Imola race weekend, we had a one-day test at the track, so four days on track in total. Normally, I would've been absolutely shattered but, at the end of the test, I felt ok; a bit tired, as expected, but by no means shattered. That's down to being able to train properly and be fit - something I was never able to really do all last year.