Despite almost entirely retreating away from motorsport in an official capacity, Suzuki's presence on the World Superbike Championship grid actually grows in 2012 thanks to the arrival of Crescent Fixi Racing.

Assuming the place of former champions Alstare, which suffered for its steadfast loyalty to Suzuki in the face of dwindling support, though Crescent Racing isn't receiving any notable factory backing, its credentials are substantial enough to belie this.

Indeed, personnel with extensive BSB and MotoGP experience make up the backroom staff and renowned Suzuki partners Yoshimura are providing the engineering support, while John Hopkins and Leon Camier form an impressive rider line-up.

Hopkins comes to WSBK desperate to move on from the injuries and the bitterness of missing out on the 2011 BSB title, but a fractured hand during pre-season testing represents another blow to a body that has been battered and bruised on far too many occasions.

Already forced to miss the opening round, when Hopkins returns to full fitness, he will be keen to show the kind of form that had him on pole position during his eye-catching wild-card at Silverstone last season. It remains to be seen whether this injury will take its toll mentally, as well as physically, but having come so far over the last twelve months, Hopkins will be determined to maintain his forward momentum.

On the other side of the garage, Camier arrives after two promising - but ultimately unfulfilling - seasons with Aprilia. Though costly crashes overshadowed his run to four podiums in 2011, Camier gives the impression there is still more to come and a friendly home in a British-run team may well provide the impetus he needs to flourish.


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