Crescent Fixi Suzuki will begin its World Superbike Championship endeavour from a strong sixth position on the grid after Leon Camier found big gains to advance up the timesheets at Phillip Island.
The British team, which is stepping up to the international stage following its success at British Superbike level, had been making steady progress through pre-season testing and practice, but it took Camier's impressive Q2 effort to lift the team well inside the top ten.
Poised from the second row of the grid, Camier is particularly pleased with the improvements on the engine side from team partners Yoshimura, though the ex-Aprilia rider admits the high track temperatures could complicate matters come race day.
“With the problems from Friday fixed, we began with an older setting we knew worked well and ended with a good base setting. That, coupled with the new Yoshimura engines, gave us a definite improvement. I knew straightaway that the engines were stronger.
“I did a bit of a race simulation in the free practice today and one thing I know is that the heat is going to be a bit of a problem for all of us. Phillip Island is well known for being hard on tyres, especially when the track temperature is very hot. I am really enjoying riding the Crescent Fixi Suzuki GSX-R - I feel very comfortable and I like its character.”
Josh Brookes, standing in for the injured John Hopkins, continued his troubled weekend as he struggles to get to grips with the GSX-R1000, the Australian qualifying in 22nd.
“We started with stiffer springs in the front forks, but it made the bike a bit worse, so we went back to our previous best setting. But although the bike was better, it wasn't enough to get into Superpole. With nothing to lose, we tried the forks and set-up John (Hopkins) used last year and almost immediately I began to get a better feeling about the bike.
“The very high track temperature and strong winds this afternoon, made it difficult to tell how much further we can improve, but I'm sure I can go quite a bit faster. We'll try some things in the warm-up tomorrow and even in the first race if necessary, but one thing is sure - I'm not giving up.”