FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish in today's second race of the sixth round of the World Superbike Championship from Miller Motorsports Park in America.
Camier made a good start and was in 11th position when the race was stopped due to another rider crashing on the track and spilling oil. After a lengthy delay to clean the circuit, the race was re-started with the riders in the positions where the initial race was stopped. - meaning Camier started from row three in 11th place. He again got a good start and pushed his way into the top-10, before getting involved in a long battle with Sylvain Guintoli. Camier eventually had to settle for 11th, finishing just over 15 seconds behind the race-winner - a positive performance considering his initial grid position of 20th. Camier had a good start in race one as well, but got involved in a mid-field battle that eventually saw him bring his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R home in 13th.
John Hopkins had a torrid race-day on his return to the team from injury. He crashed out of race one after his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R hit a kerb and slid from underneath him, fortunately he walked away uninjured. In race two Hopkins suffered with a technical issue that caused him to lose power. He battled all the way to the line to try and secure a points-scoring position, before eventually bringing his machine home safely in 16th. He was disappointed with the results, but pleased to have completed such an exhausting race with no ill-effects from his recent injuries and confident of making big steps when the championship returns to Europe.
Today's races were held in bright and sunny conditions with air temperatures pushing up to 20°C. Current World Champion Carlos Checa won the first race on a Ducati, with Marco Melandri taking victory in the second on a BMW. Max Biaggi on an Aprilia strengthened his position at the head of the riders' Championship by taking third place in both races.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now travel back to its base in England to ready itself for the next races of the season, which are scheduled for Misano in Italy on Sunday June 10th.
"We knew today would be difficult because of our grid position. This championship is so competitive that you need to be on the first two rows of the grid if you want a shot at the podium. I made good starts and progressed well in both races and rode as hard as I could today. They were a couple of tough races, but I was happy with my race pace and know that I could've finished a lot higher up if I had started with a better grid position. I feel we'll definitely be better at the more twisty tracks - like our next race in Misano - and I am looking forward to qualifying better and fighting for a top-six or a podium."
"I'm happy to be back with the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team, but disappointed that I was only able to do seven laps in the first race. I clipped the kerb with the generator cover and was flicked off and that was that. Luckily I didn't hurt myself, but afterwards I was really looking forward to race two and doing better. I started OK but, as the race wore on, my bike began to suffer with a technical problem and I couldn't push as hard as I would've liked. I kept going as fast as I could, but just missed out on the points."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"Leon rode as hard as he could and I'm happy because he did everything we asked of him. He kept the bike upright and brought it home in both races. If he had qualified on the first two rows of the grid, I think his race pace would've been good enough for a top-six finish.
"It was good to have John back and we were all looking forward to him completing two races today and getting back into the groove. Fortunately he was unhurt in his crash in race one and a technical problem in race two meant that he couldn't fight for a top-10 finish. It was a shame because his race pace in qualifying had been pretty good and I'm sure that he would've finished much higher if he hadn't had the problem. This series is tough and having to start so far down the grid makes life even more difficult. We're going to have to qualify better and give ourselves a chance of good results, but I am positive we can do that with the quality of the riders we have and the team behind them."
Miller WSB Race 1: 1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 38'21.283: 2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 38'23.596: 3. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 38'26.621L: 4. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 38'26.800: 5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 38'33.484. 13. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 38'50.683: DNF. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki).
Miller WSB Race 2: 1. Melandri 32'56.257: 2. Rea 32'56.452: 3. Biaggi 32'58.394: 4. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 33'00.502: 5. Sykes 33'05.791. 11. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 33'11.944. 16. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 33'34.949.
World Championship Classification: 1. Biaggi 160.5: 2. Melandri 142.5: 3. Sykes 142.5: 4. Rea 141: 5. Checa 130.5. 12. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 42.5. 23. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 8.