FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier will be forced to miss the rest of this weekend’s World Superbike round Motorland Aragon in Spain following the injuries he sustained during a highside after just three laps in Friday afternoon’s QP1.
The British rider suffered a a severe trauma to his left knee in the accident. After initial inspection at the track, he was immediately taken to Alcaniz hospital where the injury was assessed and operated on soon after. The procedure was successful and Camier will now need to spend a minimum of five days in a splint while the wound heals. He is hoping to be fit for the next round at Assen in two weeks’ time and will begin his recuperation as soon as he is released from hospital later today.
“To be in the hospital and kept away from the race due to a flesh wound is boring and extremely frustrating to say the least. Having said that, I guess I should be thankful that nothing is broken as it was a pretty big impact. My frustration is made so much worse because the bike was feeling good, the lap-time was coming easily and I know we could have had a good fight this weekend. I’ll be doing everything I can to be back at Assen, it all depends on how the surgery heals. I just hope our luck changes and that we can get back out there to give the team a result,” said Camier.
Fixi Crescent Suzuki has released photos via their Facebook page of the livery that Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel will be sporting on their 2013 Suzuki GSX-R’s, before shipping them to Australia for the final two pre-season tests (February 14-15 and 18-19) and the start of Superbike season later this month.
Besides FIXI being confirmed as title sponsor for a second season, the bikes also sport Yoshimura, Motorex, Blue Chip, Sign Language logos, and Voltcom, Doodson Insurance, Watches of Distinction and Spidi has been added to their 2013 sponsor roster, as well as several new technical partners.
Team principal Paul Denning reported that Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s relationship with engine partner tuning partner Yoshimura has been ‘altered’ and Crescent will now be building and maintaining the engines at race headquarters in Verwood, while Yoshimura will concentrate more on the development of the engine’s performance.
While Tom Sykes and Loris Baz decided to sit out the second and final day of private testing at the Almeria circuit in Spain due to high-winds, FIXI Crescent Suzuki riders Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel who were sharing the track with the Kawasaki riders decided to continue their test programme despite the difficult conditions.
Camier tested the new-spec 2013 engine but was unable to make a complete evaluation due to the gusting wind, while Cluzel continued his learning process of the GSX-R, improving on lap times, but he also suffered a crash that left him with a small hole to his arm.
“The weather today was awful; because it was so windy it made it difficult to do anything really meaningful. We managed to get a few jobs done and although we tried the new-spec engine, we couldn’t really understand the differences because of the conditions. I am now looking forward to Jerez and carrying on from the progress we have made here during these two days and trying out the 2013 engine properly,” said Camier.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki World Superbike team completed day one of two days of private testing at the Almeria circuit in Spain with Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel working on updated electronics, improved aerodynamics and a new-spec engine for 2013.
For WSBK rookie Cluzel is was his first taste of the Suzuki GSX-R and he quickly adapted to the more powerful machine, even if lap times were not released.
Leon Camier said, “It has been a good day and we got through a lot of work and checked most things out - which is the major part of these shakedown tests. I used the hard tyres for most of the day, as we weren’t trying for fast times, but just making sure that everything on the bike was where I remembered it should be! We still have a lot to do tomorrow and will continue in the same way as we have today. I’ll have the new-spec 2013 engine to use tomorrow, so I am looking forward to that - if the track feeling is as good as the dyno data it will be a good step.”
“It was fantastic to be able to ride the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R for the first time!” commented the French rider. “It was a big difference from my last bike and it has so much power compared to the weight, so I have to alter my riding style because everything is happening much faster! The bike also enters the corners much quicker, but it feels good and I’m enjoying it. I am also having to learn how the tyres, electronics and the chassis work and just understand what’s happening. I used only the hardest compound tyres today as I need time to learn, but my lap-times were not too bad and I was happy for the first day on a completely new bike on a new track. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and I’m sure as I get more experience I will be able to go faster.”
After finishing tomorrow, FIXI Crescent Suzuki will pack up and head to Jerez for another two-day test next week and they will find Ducati’s MotoGP test team who will be there starting Sunday. Alstare Ducati will also be present with Carlos Checa, while Althea Aprilia was supposed to share the Almeria track with Fixi Crescent Suzuki and Kawasaki, but they opted to test at Jerez with the other teams.
There is the old saying that ?the first person you have to beat is your team mate’ and this will be doubly true in the case of Fixi Crescent Suzuki riders Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel, who will also be battling against each other in 2013 to take home a Franck Muller Cortez 10000 H SC watch in steel – valued at more than £12,000, that will be offered by the team’s new partner, ‘Watches of Distinction.
The Superbike team’s new partner is a specialist timepiece dealer whose logo will appear on the two riders helmets next season, and Camier and Cluzel will have to compete against each over each Superpole session during entire 2013 season to see who will win this valuable wristwatch, and the details of inter-team competition will be revealed as the season begins (at Phillip Island February 24th) with regular updates throughout the year.
Watches of Distinction are purchasers and sellers of fine-quality pre-owned and new watches. Based in Lymington, on the outskirts of the New Forest National Park in England, Watches of Distinction specialises in sourcing and retailing new, pre-owned, rare and prestigious wrist watches from the world’s leading manufacturers including Rolex, Franck Muller, Cartier, Breitling, Tag-Heuer and others. It also has an established watch repair, restoration and service facility, staffed by repairers that have years of knowledge and experience within the industry working with premium brands.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki has announced 24 year old Frenchman Jules Cluzel as Britain’s Leon Camier new team-mate for their 2013 World Superbike Championship campaign. In 2012 Cluzel finished runner-up in the World Supersport Championship with Honda, behind Kawasaki’s Kenan Sofuoglu, winning 4 races and bringing home another four podiums. Cluzel has also competed in GP Racing, earning a podium in Qatar in 2009 in the now-defunct 250 cc class, winning his first race in the Moto2 class at Silverstone the following year.
In the aftermath of the controversial refusal from fellow-countryman Sylvain Guintoli (who had already signed the contract with FIXI Crescent Suzuki for 2013 before another offer from a rival manufacturer led him to scrap the agreement) the team had strongly considered giving the second GSX-R 1000 to 25 year-old Australian Josh Waters - also in the light of the positive results of the newly-crowned Australian Superbike champion during the Aragon test a forthnight ago - but then decided to opt for Cluzel.
“I am really excited to be joining the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team - Cluzel said - It is a big step in my career, but one that I am very happy to take. When I was given the option to work with Suzuki in World Superbikes, I did not need to think about it twice and I just said a big “Yes!” straight away. I am really motivated by the whole project and I know that this is what I want. I will make sure I’m totally ready for the first race and plan to learn not only quickly, but also intelligently. I cannot wait to start work and I am also really pleased to be working with an English team. I now just want to get on the bike and see how it goes, do my best and challenge for some good results.”
Sylvain Guintoli was ready to replace John Hopkins in Fixi Crescent Suzuki next season - they actually signed a final contract at Magny Cours - however the French rider has turned around and reneged on his commitment, seemingly having gotten a better offer from another manufacturer - apparently Aprilia.
Guintoli - who was on the receiving end of a contract dispute with Effenbert Liberty half way through the season and walked out to end up with Pata Racing - has left Paul Denning’s team high and dry, and forced to call in at the last minute Australian Superbike champion Josh Waters to replace him and join Leon Camier in the three-day SBK test that starts today at the Motorland Aragon circuit.
To explain the situationPaul Denning was forced to issue the following press release (after the jump).
At the present it is uknown which SBK team Guintoli is negotiating with, but the name Aprilia has somewhat further reinforced the rumors that Max Biaggi may be retiring, however Biaggi and Gigi dall’Igna will be sitting down at the end of the Aragon test (Biaggi is present) to hammer out a new deal.
If there has been a rider that has always suffered tremendously from injuries which in turn conditioned in his racing career that has to be John Hopkins. The popular American racer has barely had a season that hasn’t been marred by some sort of serious injury, often more than one, that has taken a toll on his body and for a while he even admitted he once needed to turn to alcohol to take away the physical pain.
This last year in World Superbikes has been another extremely painful one for Hopkins who started the season after six surgeries and a finger amputation only to break his hand in pre-season testing and then hurt his hip in a crash at the Parabolica in that ill-fated Monza round. Hopper has been quietly and stoically riding through the pain barrier for months and his race results are a mirror of what he has been going through which culminated with him deciding to withdraw from the last round of season at Magny-Cours. Now the Suzuki rider has decided to take as much time off from racing as he needs to return to full fitness before deciding what he’ll be doing in the future.
“I have really struggled with my hip since the crash at Monza and I know that it is a priority to get my health sorted before I can even think about racing again. I didn’t want to pledge myself to the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team for 2013 and then not be able to give 100% because the injury is a constant worry, so although this is a difficult decision it is the correct one. I will be going back to America for a bunch of tests and then we’ll decide what the best course of action is. If that is a hip replacement or something similar, then that is what I am prepared to do to make sure I can get my health and fitness back. At the moment the injury is influencing everything I do in my home, personal and racing life, so I need to get it sorted out properly. I still have the desire and passion to race against the world’s best riders but every time I have pumped myself up to go for it this season, the hip has quickly and painfully reminded me that I need to be careful – and that’s no way to go racing. Everyone at the team has been very supportive this year, because they know what I’ve been through, so I want to send my thanks to them for all their encouragement and backing. I’d like to also thank all the racing fans and my personal sponsors - in particular Arai, Alpinestars and Monster who have been with me for so long - they have all been so positively behind me, I’m sorry that it’s not worked out this year, but I really do hope to be back!”
With FIXI set to remain Crescent Suzuki’s title sponsor in 2013 and team principal Paul Denning to take over as team manager from Jack Valentine, the team has confirmed that Leon Camier will stay with them also in 2013.
While Camier is only 14th in the standings, he had a breakthrough in the last part of the championship which included taking a third place podium at Nurburgring in race 2.
“I am so happy to continue working with Fixi Crescent Suzuki and the whole team. We had a tough start to 2012, but the guys have all worked so hard to turn things around and we are now more competitive and close to the podium,” said Camier. “I really wanted to stay here and continue with what we have started and to win races on the Suzuki, which is still the target and will be our main focus for 2013. The whole team is totally focused on succeeding in WSBK and with everything that is happening at the moment we are heading in that direction - it feels good to be a part of it.”
Paul Denning said, “To secure the deal with Leon is a very important step in achieving the team’s 2013 targets. He was at the forefront of our thoughts when we originally planned to bring Crescent Suzuki to World Superbikes and his input, positive attitude and hard work through the first season has helped push us to a more competitive level. He is now regularly challenging the front guys and we are sure the plans we have in place for 2013 will see him regularly fighting for the podium. He has been a great asset to the whole team and his professionalism is obvious to all. We are all looking forward to working with him again and making sure he is in a position to be pushing for victories in 2013.”
Fixi Crescent Suzuki has yet to announce who will be Camier’s team mate next year, but Sylvain Guintoli is highly tipped to make a return to the team after spending 2009 with them in British Superbikes.
At little less than a week ago John Hopkins tweeted “The condition of the Hip is unfortunately quite serious but further test results will determine just how serious ! More news to come soon..,” everyone was worrying whether the Fixi Suzuki rider would be able to take part in the next World Superbike round at Miller Motorsports Park (May 26-28), but now the answer is yes, Hopkins has received the green light from his doctors.
Hopkins personally confirmed the all clear and his partecipation via Twitter yesterday after he said he had undergone 8-X-rays,2 MRI’s,1 CT Scan & seeing 2 separate Hip Specialists…I WILL be racing the next race. caused by a hip injury at Monza (he also broke a bone in his right foot) that kept him from competing in the Donington Park round.
“I was so disappointed to miss Donington Park, where I’m sure I could have been in that crazy fight for the win!” said Hopper. “It’s been a really rough ride physically over recent times, and there were some real worries over the hip condition, but I know I have a lot more to give and that my luck has to change for the better. The team, my family and close friends have been really supportive and I just want to get back into what I know I can do best. I am fully committed to racing at Miller and I will be doing everything possible from now and up to the race weekend, to ensure that I do whatever I can to get the best result possible for Fixi Crescent Suzuki, me and everyone involved. It won’t be easy, so I plan to take it step-by-step, enjoy the riding and build back into it.”