Team Crescent Fixi Suzuki ended the first official tests of the year in an upbeat mood today with Leon Camier beating his best-ever lap-time at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia.
Both Camier and Josh Brookes are now looking forward to this weekend's opening round of the World Superbike Championship at the circuit: Camier ended the test eighth fastest over the two days - just three-tenths-of-a-second behind Tom Sykes - and is happy with the progress he and the team have made during the tests. Brookes, who is standing in for injured John Hopkins, continued to work on his understanding of the Yoshimura-tuned Crescent Fixi GSX-R1000 and is looking forward to further improvement at the start of this weekend's race.
Leon Camier - 129 laps, best 1:32.320:
"Generally I am pretty happy because we've tried a lot of different things and made a lot of progress during these tests. We've collected a lot of data and we'll analyse this over the next day or so to get ready for the race weekend. At the moment, I'm just missing out a little in just one sector of the track and if we can sort this out, I know I can lap quite a bit quicker.
"The track is always very hard on tyres but this year it is much bumpier than ever before and that is causing a few problems. Nevertheless, I'm very happy with my lap times because I have gone half a second quicker than ever before here. Considering that this is a new bike for and a new team, I think that's a pretty good start and very encouraging for the future. I feel very comfortable on the bike. It is very rider friendly and doesn't do anything crazy. I'm going to have a couple of days off now, but I'm already really looking forward to Friday and the first practice."
Josh Brookes - 112 laps, best 1:33.623:
"I am disappointed not to be further up the order, but I guess that's only to be expected when you consider that today was only my third day on the bike and my third day with the team. I always knew that jumping on this bike wasn't going to be easy and that's the way it has been. We've progressed for sure, but I would've liked more progress, more quickly. These tests have been mentally draining because there's so much to take in and I want to thank the whole Crescent Fixi Suzuki crew for all their hard work and patience.
"I'm a little sore from a crash yesterday when I hit my hip quite hard and opened up an old scar. I had four stitches, but I can honestly say that the crash has had no effect on my riding today. At the moment my biggest problem are the bumps and so we've being doing a lot of work to get the GSX-R to absorb the bumps and stay stable. Once we've done that, I'll be able to go a lot faster for sure."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
I am pretty content overall. It's been a pretty tough test for us all, but we knew beforehand that it wouldn't be easy. I am reasonably happy with what we've achieved but would've been even happier if we had sorted out Leon's third sector because that would've pushed him quite a bit further up the standings. We'll look at all the data and try and sort it out in Friday's practice sessions.
"Leon's happy on the bike and it shows. Josh is definitely improving every time out and although there's still work to be done I am confident that he can do it. The weekend ahead is going to be tough, but I'd be more than happy with some solid performances and some top-six finishes."
Overall best lap times: 1 Sykes 1:31.648, 2 Checa 1:31.652, 3 Smrz 1:31.800, 4 Rea 1:31.913, 5 Biaggi 1:32.034. 8 Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) 1:32.320. 21 Josh Brookes (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) 1:33.623.