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Sep 22, 2012 - 07:06 PM
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Camier On The Pace In Portugal
Posted by: newsla on Sep 22, 2012 - 07:05 PM
Camier On The Pace In Portugal

FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier will start the penultimate round of the 2012 eni FIM Superbike World Championship from the head of the third row after qualifying in ninth at Portimao today.


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Camier easily qualified for this afternoon's Superpole after a solid performance in this morning's final qualifying session, as he continued with the impressive form that he has shown recently. He then progressed safely through Superpole 1 and looked like continuing his advance into the third and final session, but a broken gear-lever hampered him in Superpole 2 and he missed out by the narrowest of margins. The team did superbly to replace the lever and get him out again, but he was just unable to make it into the top eight. Camier's best time was only 0.016 seconds away from eighth position and a guaranteed place in the final shoot-out for the front two rows of the grid. He was disappointed not to have made the final session, but is still convinced there is more to come from him and his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R in tomorrow's races.

John Hopkins continued with his education at the 4,592m Portimao circuit, as he made consistent improvements to his lap-times at a circuit that he has never raced at before. His best time in this afternoon's second free practice session was over a second quicker than his best in yesterday's first free session. Hopkins just missed out on Superpole despite improving his time in this morning's final qualifying session and he will start from the fifth row of the grid in 19th position. A technical problem in the last five minutes of the session halted his progress and meant he was unable to improve on his time.

Pole position for tomorrow's races was taken by one of the three antagonists that can still take the championship title, Tom Sykes. It was the British rider's eighth Superpole crown of the season and gives him advantage on the grid over his two rivals, Marco Melandri in fourth and current championship leader Max Biaggi in fifth.

Sunday's two races will be over 22-laps, with the riders covering 101.024km of the Portuguese circuit before they see the chequered flag. The first event gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (12.00hrs BST); with the second scheduled for 15.30hrs local time (15.30hrs BST).

Leon Camier:

"The boys did a great job to replace the lever so quickly and get me out again, but it did interfere with my momentum and if it hadn't have happened I'm sure I would have been in the final session. I was in eighth place with hardly any time left on the clock, but then Haslam managed to go fractionally faster and so I missed getting into Superpole 3.
"At the moment, we're still trying to improve the FIXI Crescent Suzuki set-up and get more grip and better consistency in the tyre wear. We'll look at the data tonight and maybe try a few things in the warm-up tomorrow morning. If I can get two good starts, I think I can be in the first group. That's my plan anyway!"

John Hopkins:

"It wasn't the greatest day for me, not helped by a problem towards the end of this morning's final qualifying session. If it had not have been for that, maybe I would've managed to get into Superpole. We spent this morning trying different tyres to get a feel for which ones work best. We did find a good solution and then, when we put on a soft tyre to set a lap time, we had a technical problem and the chance was gone. I'm confident about my race pace though and think I can get a couple of good results as long as I make good starts."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"It's been a good day really - Leon has been on the pace today, as he has been all weekend. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki team have been continuously working on the bike and have improved the set-up and done a lot of work to get the character of the engine to suit the track. We could've done without any drama in Superpole, but it didn't work out that way and the boys did a superb job to get Leon back on track quickly. His race pace is good and, if he can get good starts, I'm sure he'll be in the mix with the leaders. He cannot afford to lose any places at the start, so it's crucial he gets off the line quickly.

"John had a little slow speed tumble today, but there was no damage done. His technical problem at the end of the timed qualifying today was unfortunate because it was looking likely that he would get into Superpole. I know he is a good starter, so there's no reason why he cannot pick up some places in the opening laps and get some good results. It's going to be a tough day tomorrow, but we're looking forward to fighting as hard as usual and seeing what results we can pick up."

Portimao - FIM Superbike World Championship - Superpole: 1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'41.415: 2. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1'41.780: 3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1'41.789: 4. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'42.015: 5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia). 9. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'42.767. 19. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'44.865.

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