Leon Camier handed Red Bull Honda a much-needed boost by going third-fastest of the regular race riders in pre-season testing at Jerez. The Briton was only outpaced by the dominant Kawasakis of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea, as well as Yamaha test-rider Niccolo Canepa, as Honda attempts to bounce back from a disastrous 2017.
Although Camier’s quickest lap came on a Superpole simulation, the 31-year-old was also pleased with the performance of the Fireblade over race distance, something he hopes to build on at Portimao this weekend.
“I’m really happy with how this test went, we’ve made some good progress and I’m learning the bike more and more. There’s still a lot I’d like to work on at the next test in Portimão and I think as I ride this bike on different tracks I’ll be able to get even more out of our package. I’m looking forward to doing more long runs in the upcoming tests as this will help me understand how the bike will behave over race distance, but all in all I’ve learned a lot over the last two days, I’m feeling good and am a lot more comfortable on the Fireblade and now we just need to keep up the good work at the upcoming tests.”
Team-mate Jake Gagne was fourteenth fastest as he worked with new crew chief Mick Shanley and the American admitted to taking a cautious approach.
“I made some steady progress here at Jerez and it was really good to be back with the team and work with my new crew chief Mick. We made some changes with the bike to adapt it to my riding style and figured out what I could on the bike to help me get the most out of the Honda. I really learned a lot over the couple of days and the main thing for me was not to make any big mistakes and just focus on getting more out of the bike. Although my lap-times weren’t right up there with the front guys, I’m really happy with how Jerez went and me and the crew will keep moving forward at the next tests.”