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Form man Camier sets Phillip Island pace

18 February 2013

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Following a strong turn in free testing last week, Leon Camier dropped another hint that Fixi Crescent Suzuki is primed to be a competitive force in 2013 as he ended the first day of 'official' World Superbike testing at Phillip Island with the fastest time.

After an indifferent first year together in 2012, Camier has shown fine form on the Suzuki GSX-R1000 in winter testing, as demonstrated by his run to the top of the 'unofficial' timesheets in Australia last week despite two spectacular accidents that left his bike requiring significant repair work.

Managing to stay upright through the first of two days official testing, Camier surged ahead with five minutes of the two-hour session remaining, his lap of 1min 31.243secs proving comfortably faster than second place man Leon Haslam. Significantly, Camier would go on to turn in another lap of 1min 31.330secs, which would also prove faster than the opposition.

Haslam's second place came after a late jump up the order, the new Honda recruit showing well ahead of his race debut alongside Jonathan Rea later this week.

Prior to Camier and Haslam's late lunges, Michel Fabrizio looked on course to give Red Devils Roma Aprilia a surprise top spot after becoming the first rider to dislodge Eugene Laverty from the head of the timesheets all afternoon.

The Irishman, who set the pace in the morning, fended off his rivals in the afternoon by lowering his best time by three tenths to 1min 31.452secs, but he had no answer to the trio that would eventually surpass him.

Marco Melandri flew the flag for BMW in fifth position, ahead of Carlos Checa, the Spaniard making big gains in the afternoon to put the new Alstare Ducati 1199 Panigale a competitive sixth place.

His former team-mate Davide Giugliano followed up in seventh ahead of Sylvain Guintoli, the Frenchman retaining eighth despite missing the final hour due to a technical problem and crash.

The only rider not to improve his time in the afternoon, Jonathan Rea slipped to ninth place, ahead of Tom Sykes in tenth, the Kawasaki rider taking it easy after hurting his wrist last week.

Outside the top ten, new BMW signing Chaz Davies was 11th fastest, ahead of wild-card Jamie Stauffer and Ivan Clementi, the veteran Italian impressing on HTM BMW's official group debut more than five years after he last competed at WSBK level.

However, it was a tough day for two of the series' newer riders, with Jules Cluzel down in 14th place and Silverstone race winner Loris Baz struggling all day to only post the 17th best time out of 20 riders.

Elsewhere, Max Neukirchner didn't participate in the afternoon session after hurting his back and badly damaging his MR Ducati in the morning.


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