“A lot better than we were anticipating,” was Leon Camier's verdict of the first day of World Superbike free practice at Phillip Island, in which he finished a heartening fifth.
The Englishman's MV Agusta 1000 F4 was beset by electronics and engine issues at the two-day test at the beginning of the week, leaving Camier 14th overall and close to one and a half seconds off the fastest pace.
Yet three days and several chassis adjustments later, Camier had come to 'understand a number of little things' which allowed him to place fourth in FP1 and fifth a number of hours later.
“I think the difference from the test was me getting up to speed a little more and understanding what I need to do to get the best out of everything,” said Camier on Friday evening.
“We've had some big problems in testing and with electronics and a couple of other things we've had to dull down the power to try and reserve the engine. We've had some dramas. We were at a bit of a power deficit before. Now even more so.
“But between a couple of things with the chassis and me understanding a number of little things we've managed to make a good step forward. Even consistently by myself it's not too bad. To do one lap round here we need power. We're losing so much on the straights. I've been behind another rider, like a Kawasaki, and they just punch between the turns. There is quite a big difference.
“In the corners the bike is working good. We've got the chassis working good and we've got the electronics quite refined to what we want. There is a little bit of room for improvement but fundamentally we're not that far away.”
Now in his second season aboard the 1000 F4, Camier's MV Agusta Reparto Corse squad has absorbed a number of Forward Racing's ex-MotoGP crew over the offseason.
Commenting further on his chances at Phillip Island, the ex-British Superbike champion is wary that his performance on Friday was close to the limit of the machine's performance.
Still, improving consistency and feel on used tyres will be a priority for Saturday. “The problem is through each session we're making four laps in the beginning then maybe another three or four laps at the end,” he continued.
“So we have no data on old tyres, although the lap times we've done have been on semi-old tyres. We just need to keep refining what we've got a little bit more and hopefully we can find more. But yeah, it's sort of at the limit. There are a few things that I think we can work on but we're pretty much about where it is. We'll see. There are always things to be improved.”