Team Crescent Fixi Suzuki began its World Superbike Championship assault at Phillip Island in Australia today at the opening round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship with Leon Camier ending first qualifying in 12th and Josh Brookes 20th, but both confident of big improvements tomorrow.
Held in mostly hot and sunny conditions, the morning session started a little cool, but as the day wore on, the temperature grew and caused a few problems with grip; highlighted when injured John Hopkins' stand-in rider Brookes lost the front end of the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 and crashed.
Leon Camier - 12th, 1:32.817:
"I am a little disappointed how things turned out today, but racing is like that sometimes. We made some changes to the bike for the morning session, but the changes didn't make the improvements we thought they would. So we put the bike back to the way it was at the end of the official tests and started working all over again. In the afternoon session, we had some problems with the clutch, which caused some corner entry issues, so I couldn't push as hard as I would've liked. It was a bit frustrating, but if we can find just half a second, we'll be there or thereabouts and that is definitely possible.
Josh Brookes - 20th, 1:33.477:
"I am not very happy because everything had been going well until I crashed this afternoon when I lost the front end in MG corner. Although the conditions were not conducive to fast lap times this afternoon, I actually did my best laps at the hottest time of the day - and that's not normal. I was pleased with the improvement from the morning and now I am looking forward to more progress. I cannot quite feel the limit of the bike and the tyre yet, but once I do that, I'll be able to go faster for sure."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"It's been a hard day, but nothing we cannot handle. The things we tried with Leon's bike in the morning did not improve the bike, so we returned to what we knew worked. In the afternoon he had some clutch issues, but still managed to do a great job and qualify in the position he did. Josh tipped off at MG, but we can see that he's progressing and that's a positive. We're new to this Championship and are under no illusions how competitive this series is. On a positive note, all of us at Crescent Fixi Suzuki are very pleased with the performance-gain of new-spec Yoshimura engines."
Friday WSB Qualifying: 1 Rea 1:31.959, 2 Smrz 1:32.116, 3 Giugliano 1:32.198, 4 Checa 1:32.228, 5 Biaggi 1:32.318, 6 Canepa 1:32.343. 12 Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) 1:32.817. 20 Josh Brookes (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) 1:33.477.