Interview with Leon Camier

The first few times testing the bike over the winter, I was just taking my time and letting the bike come to me, Jules on the other hand was just nailing it straight away and I was thinking 'Jesus Christ! I'm going to have to up the pace here'. He fell off a lot but I have a lot of respect for his speed. He's not frightened of the bike, he seems to have no fear.

I think the speed will be good for the team because we can push each other on.
What about Hopper last season?

Leon Camier:
When I followed him on track, he looked like he was trying and pushing, it didn't look like he'd given up or anything. For that ultimate speed though, you've got to be desperate for the result and I don't know whether he'd lost that bit of desperation or maybe hurt himself too many times.

He didn't look like he was hurting in the pits or anything so maybe it was the fact that the bike at that time wasn't so good and he'd just had too many crashes to push when the bike couldn't get the result.
How much support does the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team get from Suzuki?

Leon Camier:
There is some support, but that's very much dependant on Paul Denning pulling things together. Paul pulls everything together to make it work, there's no development from Suzuki, that's all down to us and Yoshimura (the engine builders). It's a pretty independent team.
How do this year's and last year's bike compare?

Leon Camier:
The main difference is speed and engine power. The electronics also needed a lot of work.

Even during last year the bike improved substantially. At the beginning of the year, it was terrible but towards the end of the year it was becoming an all round balanced bike.

We are making a lot more power, but even now we need more power and despite the electronics now working totally differently to when we started, we also need more work on the electronics. The chassis works well though and I've got a good feeling with it and that's helped by the power now cutting in in a more controllable way. The bike is now basically a lot more refined and balanced. Things are improving for sure and we just need to keep doing what we're doing.
We could see that improvement at Silverstone where you crashed out of a strong position?

Leon Camier:
The frustrating thing about that weekend was that we'd set the fastest lap in practice, got a high position in qualifying and in the race I really felt I had the pace to win. The problem was that on the back straight one or two people would come past me every time and I would have to pass them again and try to make enough gap so that it didn't happen again. Engine power was still the issue even after Yoshimura had made some big improvements.

When it started drizzling everybody backed off and I could see an opportunity to make a gap and go because if I didn't have the gap I knew they would just come by me again so I was pushing too hard in half and half conditions and went down. The team weren't on my case though because they could see I was just trying to get a result or win the race.

Despite the big improvements made, the bike still suits flowing tracks without too many stop and start sections.
Your testing performance at Phillip Island looked particularly good

Leon Camier:
Yeah, we were all really happy. I did a race run in the testing and we were pumping in some great times. Other riders were thinking that we'd run away and win the race. After that I had a big accident when the wind caught me as I was pushing for a hot lap and the boys had to build a totally new bike. Unfortunately a mistake was made in the electronics which affected the power of the bike. Come race weekend the bike felt nowhere near as good as in testing. We didn't discover the mistake until after the race.
So apart from that the bike should be fast?

Leon Camier:
Some tracks we'll struggle at but at other ones we'll be looking for podiums.
How is you knee at the moment (before Assen)?

Leon Camier:
I split the knee open from one side down to my shin and had a lot of internal stitching. Also there's a great danger of infection and I've been on antibiotics since the crash. It's in a half cast and I've already lost some muscle there. I'm pushing so hard trying to get the movement back in it but it's such a fine balance of what you can do without splitting it open again. Every day we're analysing the situation and trying to push the boundaries.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Camier, WSB, Dutch WSBK 2013
Camier, WSB race1,  Dutch WSBK 2103.
Camier, WSB, Dutch WSBK 2013
Camier, Aragon WSBK 2013
Camier, Aragon WSBK 2013

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The Swooper - Unregistered

April 30, 2013 5:31 PM

Regardless of what happened at Aprilia, this guy's hard as nails. To overcome a pretty serious injury, a terrible grid position and a slow bike to finish 7th is pretty epic. He's going to come good eventually.

TC - Unregistered

April 30, 2013 4:53 PM

And don't forget Aprillia offered Leon the ride for this season, before going for Guintoli, which he turned down. It just shows why as you would not turn down a ride like that without good reason.

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