WSBK

Leon Camier completes first Suzuki WSB test

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Leon Camier has completed his first Crescent Suzuki World Superbike test at the Portimao circuit in Portugal on a positive note despite some teething troubles in the early stages.

The three-day test, held under sunny conditions at the 2.915-mile Algarve circuit, saw Camier experiencing very unusual front brake issues on the first day. However, thanks to hard work by the team and Brembo supplying the latest 2012 callipers, the problem was resolved and Camier was able to concentrate his efforts on the chassis set-up as well as the new Yoshimura engine and Motec ECU firmware on the GSX-R1000.

The final day threw some further challenges at Camier's side of the garage, but he and the team steadily improved to post a best lap time of 1:43:7 on race tyres, just 1 second off leader Eugene Laverty's best lap set on his Aprilia. Due to a setting sun and dwindling track temperatures, Camier was not able to post a faster lap-time on soft tyres.

"Unfortunately we had a few issues throughout the test, which can easily happen with new parts and systems, but I must say I really like the initial feel of the bike. The first day was pretty much lost due to the front brake problem and we had some issues with the new electronics - so there is still a lot to try out still with the chassis to find the exactly right set-up for me," Camier

"But at least we now know what needs to be done and we can head in the right direction at the next test, where I hope to get a lot more time out on track to find my ideal setting and post some faster lap times," he concluded.

Recently-crowned British Supersport Champion Alastair Seeley, standing in as test rider for John Hopkins as the Californian recovers from hand surgery, was able to work through a huge range of electronic development strategies. On his first visit to the circuit and his first ride on the Crescent GSX-R1000 Suzuki, Seeley posted an impressive 1.43.5 on the final day of testing.

"This was certainly a tough track to learn with its many undulations, but I soon got into the swing of things," Seeley said. "We didn't do an awful lot to the chassis set-up of the bike and focussed mainly on the electronics, which just kept getting better throughout. Towards the end the bike felt really good and I managed to post a good time on the soft tyres. "I'd like to thank the team for giving me this opportunity. It was a real pleasure working with Jack, Lez, Russ and Dale."

Team Manager, Jack Valentine, added, "It was a pretty frustrating start to the test, particularly on Leon's side. The first day was hampered with a braking issue, and the second saw us struggling with the bike's firmware. However, once we reverted back to our old settings on Leon's bike he was able to get going properly. He posted some quick times on the race tyres on day three, after which some mechanical issues put us back again.

"He then went on to post a 1:43:7 with the new firmware, which puts him a second off the fastest lap set by Eugene Laverty, but is very close to the rest of the field running in the mid 1:43s. Leon's done a great job considering he was only able to do 120 laps across the three days and I'm convinced we are going to improve from here on. "Alastair also did a fantastic job and set a very impressive time on qualifying tyres. He was running with the new firmware throughout and kept chipping away, learning both the track and getting used to the bike. Together with the Motec guys we have managed to get an abundance of data which will now be taken away and analysed and help us tremendously in the next test.

"On a final note, despite a few set-backs, the team is bonding really well and I'll ensure we take all the positives forward. Yoshimura's support and team spirit was also very welcome and we're looking forward to 2012 together."

Main Photo: Leon Camier in action

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