Fabulous fith for Camier, season's best for Hopkins
FIXI Crescent Suzuki had a very profitable and encouraging first-ever Russian eni FIM Superbike World Championship race-day as both riders produced some excellent results in the 11th roundLeon Camier scored a stunning fifth in race two after starting from 18th on the grid. He made a good start and was up to 13th by the end of the first lap, before picking his was way through the field to get into the top-10 by the 10th circulation. Camier continued to record lap-times that were comparable with the leaders and managed to avoid a big crash in-front of him, to bring his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000 home in the top-five. Camier finished 15th in race one after a gamble to use wet-tyres in the interchangeable weather didn't pay-off and he was forced to pit and change to slicks when the track dried out sooner than he thought and the expected rain never materialised. John Hopkins raced to his best World Superbike result for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team when he brought his machine home in ninth place in race one. Hopkins rode a solid race in the difficult conditions and steered clear of any crashes and incidents that marked the first WSB race at the 3'931m Moscow Raceway. Race two saw Hopkins again in the points as he finished in 12th to record his best haul of points in a weekend this year, from his injury affected season.
Today saw the inaugural World Superbike race to be held in Russia and the distinction of being the first winner went to Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki. The second race was won by Italian Marco Melandri on a BMW, a result that lifts him to the head of the world championship standings.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now make the long journey back from Moscow and begin its preparations for the next round of the season, which will be at the Nurburgring in Germany on Sunday 9th September.
"The track was pretty damp for race one and there was only about a two foot wide dry line round most of it. Because of my grid position, I knew that in order to pass people I would have to go off the dry line. That wouldn't have been possible on slicks, so I opted for wets instead. I also thought that the rain would come again, but when that didn't happen and the track dried out, I had no choice but to come into the pits and switch to slicks. That cost a lot of time and after my new tyres had been fitted I rejoined the race dead last. I pushed as hard as I could and ended 15th.
"Happily there were no difficult tyre choices to make for race two as the track was dry and the sun was out. I made a reasonably good start and then rode very aggressively, passing people on the outside as well as the inside. My FIXI Crescent Suzuki felt good and the only place I was really losing out was on the long back straight. At the end, my body was hurting and it was getting hard to concentrate, but I was pretty happy to take fifth place."
"It was a kind of frustrating day for me and it should've been much better. I started race one on slicks and probably rode a bit too timidly in the early stages and lost ground. Halfway through, I got stuck in a bit of a group and when the track dried out, it got dirty and caused a loss of grip. I kept the FIXI Crescent Suzuki upright and brought it home, which makes me reasonably happy.
"I was looking forward to race two, but unfortunately suffered with the same tyre issues that have bugged us all weekend. The bike was chattering a lot and I could only ride it at a certain level - which meant I couldn't finish any higher than 12th."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"It was always going to be a difficult day and it wasn't helped by the slightly wet conditions at the start of the first race. Leon began on wets, but had to pit and change to slicks when the track began to dry and ended 15th. John started on slicks and rode steadily throughout the race and finished ninth.
"Fortunately the conditions were perfect for race two. Leon made a good start and began picking up places straightaway. His race pace was very good and he was doing equivalent times to the leaders. He kept his head down and finished a strong fifth, which is a tremendous result considering that he started from 18th place on the grid. It was a great ride and shows how good the FIXI Crescent Suzuki is at this high level of competition. Chattering on John's bike hampered his progress in race two, but he kept at it and managed to finish 12th.
"Today was Leon's second best result of the season but, considering his injury and his 18th place on the grid, I think it is an even better ride than his fourth place at Donington earlier in the year."
Moscow - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Race 1:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 41'07.852; 2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 41'16.730: 3. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 41'20.455: 4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 41'20.879: 5. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 41'37.434: 9. JOHN HOPKINS (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 41'48.218: 15. LEON CAMIER (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 41'39.250:
Moscow - ENI FIM Superbike World Championship - Race 2:
1. Melandri 40'14.677: 2. Sykes 40'15.653: 3. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 40'18.890: 4. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 40'20.631: 5. LEON CAMIER (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 40'28.245: 12. JOHN HOPKINS (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 40'54.320:
World Championship Classification:
1. Melandri 308.5: 2. Biaggi 290: 3. Sykes 267.5: 4. Checa 233.5: 5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 212.5: 15. LEON CAMIER (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 77.5: 20. JOHN HOPKINS (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 28: