Suzuki’s Camier Leads Phillip Island Superbike Test, Day 1

FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier
FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier

2013 Phillip Island Official World Superbike Testing, Day 1 Results

During last week’s “unofficial” two-day test at Phillip Island, FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier was the World Superbike rider to beat.

The Brit led both test days, piloting his GSX-R1000 to the exact pace of the now-retired Max Biaggi’s record lap of 1:31.7, which was set last season by the Italian en route to his second World SBK title (Aprilia Racing RSV4). The quick speeds arrived during a new era of World Superbike, the entire grid now using 17-inch tires (compared to 16.5-inch setup used previously).

Following last week’s “unofficial” test sessions, which were filled with crashes on the newly-paved Phillip Island surface, Camier and his Suzuki team obtained some crucial data regarding setup with the bigger tires, allowing the team to further prep for Monday and Tuesday’s first “official” test session of 2012 World SBK.

And during Monday’s “official” test at the 2.76-mile circuit that overlooks the scenic Bass Strait, Camier remained on top. But his pace quickened a half of second to a lap of 1:31.243, which was more than a half of second quicker than Biaggi’s lap record.

Day one of two in the first “official” test session of 2012 World SBK was held under temps reaching 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In these sweltering conditions, Camier completed 44 laps on the newly-build GSX-R1000, which was rebuilt following a hectic crash at the circuit during the unofficial test.

Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike) says: “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.”

But it was only Camier who was lapping Phillip Island quicker than the record pace; the next six riders were also under Biaggi’s record lap: Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam, Red Devils Roma Aprilia’s Michel Fabrizio, Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty, BMW GoldBet’s Marco Melandri, Alstare Ducati’s Carlos Checa, and Althea Aprilia’s Davide Giugliano.

Checa was immediately quick aboard his 1199, regardless if he missed last week’s two-day private test due to receiving treatment for a blocked intestine (he was ruled out). The 2011 World SBK Champ was only 0.127 of a second off Camier’s time.

Although there were fast times, the sessions didn’t finish without issues. Newly-signed Aprilia Racing Team rider Sylvain Guintoli suffered a huge high-side just 10 laps into the testing session following a few technical issues with his RSV4.

WMR-Racing Ducati’s Max Neukirchner also suffered a huge crash at the last turn during the morning session; hi was transferred to Dandenong Hospital.

Missing from the test was Alstare Ducati’s Ayrton Badovini, who continues to recover from injuries sustained during last week’s unofficial sessions.

And two notable riders that didn’t improve on their times from last week’s “unofficial sessions” were Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes, the latter still recovering from a wrist injury sustained during a crash last week.

2013 Phillip Island World Superbike Official Test Results, Day 1 (Monday):
1. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000) 1:31.243
2. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda CBR1000RR) 1:31.396
3. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4) 1:31.401
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing RSV4) 1:31.452
5. Marco Melandri (BMW GoldBet S1000RR) 1:31.485
6. Carlos Checa (Alstare Ducati Panigale 1199) 1:31.523
7. Davide Giugliano (Althea Aprilia RSV4) 1:31.701
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing RSV4) 1:31.966
9. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda CBR1000RR) 1:31.980
10. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R) 1:32.061