Camier third on a rain affected first day at Assen
Crescent FIXI Suzuki?s Leon Camier recorded the third fastest time during today?s first qualifying session for this weekend?s World Superbike races at Assen in The Netherlands.Camier made the most of the drier conditions right at the beginning of this afternoon's session to set a time of 1:38.468, before the rain started to fall and made the chances of him improving on his time impossible. The British rider is in a confident mood that he can better his time if conditions allow it tomorrow and is also pleased to have already qualified for Saturday afternoon's Superpole if the final qualifying session in the morning is wet. John Hopkins (P13, 1:39.626) made a positive start to the day, as he immediately felt stronger and more at ease with his Crescent FIXI Suzuki GSX-R than he did last time out at Imola. He also managed to get inside the top 16, so will be in Superpole tomorrow afternoon if conditions don't improve at the 4,542m Dutch circuit.
Camier and Hopkins will have a final qualifying session tomorrow morning followed by a 45 minute free practice to make the final preparations for the Superpole session, where the pair will be going all out to get the best qualifying positions for Sunday's two races.
"In the morning we started with a hard tyre, but the grip level wasn't' so good, probably because the track was quite cold, so we changed to a softer one after about eight or nine laps. I put in some reasonable times and I'm confident I can go quicker given more dry laps. We had an idea that the rain would come in afternoon qualifying, so we made a plan to get out on the track as soon as the session started - and it worked! It began drizzling before the end of the first lap, but I managed to set a good time - third fastest - and I'm happy that our idea worked out so well. If it rains in tomorrow's qualifying session, we know we've qualified for Superpole and that's a good start."
"My hand feels pretty good and I feel a lot stronger physically than I did in Imola. Assen is a less physical circuit and this morning I felt at home on the bike almost straightaway. There's been a few changes to the circuit since I last rode here in 2009, so there's a few parts I have to learn. I'm comfortable on the parts I already know well, so it's just a question of improving in a couple of places. I have a really positive feeling about the Crescent FIXI GSX-R today. I've ridden loads of laps round here in the wet, so it's not going to be a problem if it rains. We got caught out a little bit at the start of this afternoon's qualifying session, but our aim was to finish in the top 16 and we achieved that goal."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"We started the day well this morning and both riders managed to get some laps in and get used to the track. The hard tyres didn't work so well because the track was a bit cold and slippery, so we switched to some softer ones later in the session and were able to go quicker. Leon's happy with the bike and could've pushed harder if he had needed to. John's in really good spirits and his hand was strong enough for him to push hard in the sections he knew. All he has to do now is to work on the areas he doesn't know so well, but he's a quick learner, so I have no doubt that he'll improve considerably. In the afternoon, Leon got out very early and was able to put in a quick lap before the rain came down and made sure of a good position going into tomorrow's qualifying and Superpole. John didn't get out as quick, and only did two laps, but I'm happy because he finished well inside the top sixteen - ahead of the likes of Haslam, Biaggi and Aoyama."
Assen - Friday Qualifying 1:
1. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:37.600: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1;37.630: 3. LEON CAMIER (CRESCENT FIXI SUZUKI) 1:38.468:4. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1:38.665: 5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:38.837:13. JOHN HOPKINS (CRESCENT FIXI SUZUKI) 1:39.625: