Leon Camier played down his chances ahead of this weekend’s World Superbike season opener In Australia despite going fastest on day one of the official pre-season test at Phillip Island. The Briton set a 1:31.243 to lead Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio, following up his impressive form in unofficial testing late last week.
Camier admitted the Suzuki GSX-R1000 wasn’t quite in perfect shape after his crashes last week but is happy with his level of competitiveness so far, even if he isn’t necessarily expecting victory this weekend.
“We needed to change some stuff after the bike had been re-built, so this morning was there no big hurry to push from the start. We changed the bike a bit in the lunch-break, because unfortunately it didn’t quite feel the same as it did before I smashed it up last week! The feeling came back and we also had to change quite a bit because of the heat, I did the same lap-time in the cooler conditions last week as I did in the heat today, so I think we did a pretty good job. It’s very close at the top, so it doesn’t really count for anything, because the race will be difficult and the other guys have got some time to perfect what they’ve got. We are in quite good shape at the moment, but we know there is still a lot to do for the rest of this week.”
Fixi Crescent Suzuki teammate Jules Cluzel was fourteenth despite feeling the aftereffects from his accident on Thursday and used today to build up confidence ahead of his debut on Sunday.
“I am happy with the test today, because I did a lot of laps and improved a little bit every time I went out. They weren’t big steps, because big steps with a Superbike are very dangerous – as I managed to find out at the test last Thursday! We tried many things today and didn’t really push for a fast lap time, but tried to work in the best way and find the setting that is good for me. Tomorrow we have another test and I will try to continue to improve and then see what will happen from there.”
Team Manager Paul Denning is excited by the potential being showed in the run-up to the new campaign and hopes to see further steps forward in the days ahead.
“It’s been a very successful day’s work, especially if we consider that at the end of the unofficial test, Jules was in hospital and Leon’s bike was in the trees outside turn 12! We had a few technical issues with Leon’s newly-built bike this morning, but the crew worked methodically through those and Leon was able to use that to his advantage this afternoon. He matched his time from the unofficial tests, but in much hotter conditions and coming back from the huge crash, so it great to see his confidence build step-by-step and at the end of the day show his true potential.”
“Jules did a great job today, because things were looking very difficult after the first day of last week’s test! Making a lot of laps, regaining some feeling and confidence and understanding the effects of the changes that crew were making, means he has ended up with a good base to take forward. His repaired arm isn’t causing him any problems on the track and we now have something solid to work with tomorrow as we approach the first round of the championship.”