Leon Camier charged from 15th on the grid to a hard-fought-for eighth position in the second race of Sunday's Imola World Superbike Championship second round in Italy, making up for his DNF in race one after making contact with Joan Lascorz on the opening lap.
Crescent FIXI Suzuki team mate John Hopkins took his first points of the year in race one after battling through the field on the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 from 19th to 13th in his 2012 race debut, but he was unable to repeat the feat in race two after severe arm-pump forced him to retire after just four laps.
Leon Camier - Race 1: DNF (1 lap). Race 2: 8th:
"I'm not sure if my coming together with Lascorz was my fault or just a racing incident. I made a reasonably good start and tried to make big gains straight away, passing a lot of people going into turn one. At turn five, I went round the outside of Giugliano and when I got back on the racing line, Lascorz and I collided and that was the end of my race. I managed to get the bike back to the pits, but crash damage prevented me from going out again.
"I'm pretty happy to get eighth place in the second race today and think I could've finished even higher if it hadn't been for my grid position. I started pretty aggressively but soon fell into a good rhythm. I was lapping strongly at the end and was catching the group ahead, so who knows what would've happened with a better grid position. This series is very competitive and you have to be on the first two rows of the grid if you are to have any chance of a podium, so all things considering, eighth is pretty good."
John Hopkins - Race 1: 13th, Race 2: DNF (4 laps):
"I made a decent start in race one but lost a few positions in the carnage in the first laps. After that I kept my head down and tried to lap consistently. I wanted to get used to being in a race situation again after such a long time. Understandably my right arm was a bit sore after 21 laps, but I thought it'd be OK for race two. But, almost right from the start, it began to pump up and soon I couldn't hold on to the bars properly. I knew it was impossible to ride competitively and because I didn't want to anybody else in danger, I decided to pull in. I'm realistic enough to know that I am not yet race fit, but there were positives that I can build on. I know I'm going to be a lot stronger next time out for sure."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"We knew all weekend that Leon could run in the top six because of his lap times, so it was unfortunate that he had to start from the fourth row of the grid. In race one, he had a collision with Lascorz and that was that. In race two, he got involved with the pack and was doing low 1:49s towards the end of the race, finishing a strong eighth. I'm pretty happy about that and it shows that the Crescent FIXI Suzuki has potential.
"John did well to bring the GSX-R home safely in the points in race one because there was a lot going on in the early laps. I've known John a long time, so the problem must have been really bad for him to retire in race two. This is a very physical circuit and it has given John a hard workout, but I've no doubt that he will be fitter and more competitive next time out."
Race 1: 1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 38'06.264: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 38'09.470: 3. Leon Haslam (BMW) 38'11.857: 4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 38'12.783: 5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 38'30.926. 13. John Hopkins (Crescent FIXI Suzuki) 38'56.682. DNF. Leon Camier (Crescent FIXI Suzuki).
Race 2: 1. Checa 37'57.571: 2. Sykes 37'59.506: 3. Haslam 38'00.540: 4. Biaggi 38'00.917: 5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 38'16.496. 8. Leon Camier (Crescent FIXI Suzuki) 38'21.368. DNF. John Hopkins (Crescent FIXI Suzuki).
World Championship Points (after 2 rounds): 1. Checa 75: 2. Biaggi 71: 3. Sykes 69: 4. Haslam 47: 5. Marco Melandri (BMW) 46. 14. Leon Camier (Crescent FIXI Suzuki) 12: 19. John Hopkins (Crescent FIXI Suzuki) 3.