FIXI Crescent Suzuki is in Italy this weekend for the seventh round of the World Superbike Championship that will be held at the Misano World Circuit close to the Adriatic Riviera coastline.
After the flyaway to America, the squad now faces the remainder of the season racing on European soil, starting with the event at Misano. FIXI Crescent Suzuki riders Leon Camier and John Hopkins are both eagerly awaiting this weekend and will be trying to build on recent improvements and go all out on their Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-Rs for their best results of the season so far, at a circuit the pair know well.
Located near Rimini on the Adriatic Riviera, the Misano World Circuit has a long sweeping curve with two high speed right-handers that certainly make for exciting racing, but it also features many slower corners where overtaking is very difficult. The 4,226m layout is a track where ultimate top-speed is not essential, but a smooth and consistent riding style will definitely play a part in mastering the circuit. The Misano World Circuit was designed in 1969, with racing starting there three years later and it has been a regular on the World Superbike Championship calendar since 1991. The Misano track is the only circuit in Italy - and one of the few circuits in the world - hosting the two most prestigious motorcycle world championships.
Camier and Hopkins will take to the track for the first free practice session on Friday, with the pair aiming to make sure they use the first two qualifying sessions to their full extent to make sure they are both able to compete in Superpole on Saturday afternoon. The first race of Sunday's double-header is scheduled to get underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST).
"Misano is fairly technical and has a combination of fast sections, slow corners and chicanes, so it is important - like most tracks - to have a good bike set-up and a good grid position. If you don't have a place on the front two rows of the grid, it's virtually impossible to make up the ground on the leaders because there is only one line through the first part of the track and it's very easy to get held up. My race pace in the last round was good, but my grid position was not and therefore it wasn't possible to catch the leaders. So my first task this weekend is to qualify well and give myself a chance of a good result. Miller was difficult for us, but I have a feeling that Misano will suit the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R better. I haven't had much luck there in the past three years, so this year will be a good time to change all that."
"I have raced at Misano before, so at least I will not be at a disadvantage in that area this time and will know which way the track goes. Although it's probably not my favourite circuit, I actually do enjoy riding there, because it has a lot of variety and is technically challenging. Some parts are fast and some not, but the most important thing for me this coming weekend is to get into Superpole and qualify well. Because of the track's nature in the first section, starting on the first or second rows of the grid is a must. I was on the Misano podium in 2007 with Suzuki in MotoGP, though I've not ridden there since taking part in WSBK practice in 2009. I'm sure I'll find my way round it right from the get-go and will be going flat out for a good result."