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Feb 15, 2013

Camier Unofficially Tops Private World Superbike Test At Phillip Island

Leon Camier (2).
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier finished the unofficial test at Phillip Island in Australia in fine style as he topped the time-sheets and recorded a lap under the current record.

Camier's 'unofficial' best lap-time of 1'31.2 was half-of-a-second under the current record and sent a powerful signal to the rest of the Superbike field that was assembled at Phillip Island for this private test. Camier produced his scintillating time during this morning using a race tyre, and then followed that up with an equally impressive and highly competitive race simulation and was the only rider to complete such a run. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki star also ended the day in spectacular style as he was pushing hard - and already 0.4-of-a-second under his best time - before he was involved in a very high-speed crash on the last corner of his last lap of the day. He lost the front of his machine and saw the bike disappear over the gravel trap and tyre wall, before coming to rest in the trees that surround the picturesque circuit. Camier again escaped unscathed, which was more than could be said for his FIXI Crescent Suzuki!

Camier and his crew will now assess the data gathered from the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R over these two productive days, before the team takes to the track again on Monday for a further two-day test. The Englishman will certainly be looking to build on his impressive start to the season as he heads toward the first race of 2013 next weekend.
Jules Cluzel was absent from today's events following a big crash in yesterday's testing, which led to him being admitted to hospital in Melbourne for a small operation to repair damage to his left elbow. The procedure has been a successful one and Cluzel plans to re-join the team this evening and be back on-track for the two-day test that starts on Monday.

Leon Camier:

"The day started off really well and we got down to some good times. The bike felt really comfortable, we improved it a little bit chassis wise and the electronics are slowly getting better. We also did a race run, I was not really pushing it, but just trying to be comfortable and the keep the lap-times consistent. We can still improve the race pace and I think I can do a bit of that through my riding. At the end of the day we had a massive crash when I was pushing for a really fast lap - I just got caught out by the wind. The bike was absolutely totalled, so the boys have got a lot of work to do tonight! Hopefully we'll be back up to speed as soon as we get back on track on Monday."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"The high speed of the Phillip Island track, combined with the new high-grip but more unpredictable surface has caught out a lot of riders over these two-days and with two crashes each for our guys, we were very much involved in the carnage!

"Jules was operated on by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Weymouth today and he'll be able to ride - even if he is a little bit restricted in his movement - in the Official Test on Monday. As a rookie to the Superbike class it's not good to lose a full day of testing, but he showed huge speed - maybe a bit too much speed - yesterday and we will approach the test next week very calmly and in a step-by-step manner to re-build his confidence. We all have to make sure that we remember that the championship is 15-rounds long and it doesn't all hinge on what Jules does here at Phillip Island next weekend.

"Leon tested alone today and was absolutely flying all day. The bike is working well, the 2013 engine which we've developed with Yoshimura is in a different league to what we had here last year, and the whole package appears to be properly competitive. Leon's 31.2 best lap was impressive, but more important for the team was the superb data we gathered from the race simulation run, in-which Leon kept the times all within the 32-second bracket. Phillip Island is so tough on rear tyres, so the consistency bodes well for the race weekend. The huge crash at over 200kmh at the final corner could have put a big dampener on an otherwise positive test, but the sight of Leon up on his feet and basically ok, except for a few bumps and bruises, was a huge relief. We can replace the metal and the carbon fibre, but we can't replace Leon!"

Phillip Island Unofficial Test Classification (Day Two): 1. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'31.2: 2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'31.3: 3. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1'31.4: 4. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'31.6: 5. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1'31.7.

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

Phillip Island, 15th February 2013. Welcome to Australia: With one week to go until the opening round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship in Phillip Island, the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team has continued its season preparation with two days of private testing on the South Australian circuit. On Thursday, the first day of the test, the resurfaced track was still slippery, causing several crashes. The weather was mostly sunny and warm, but with strong winds today. In total, works rider Marco Melandri (ITA) completed 114 laps (507 km) on his BMW S 1000 RR. His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) did 125 laps (556 km).

On Monday and Tuesday (18th and 19th February), the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team will join the official testing of the FIM Superbike World Championship in Phillip Island. The first race weekend of the season starts one week from today, on Friday, 22nd February.

Marco Melandri:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
“Yesterday it was quite difficult to ride as the track was still very dirty but today it was much better, although it was pretty windy. Regarding our work with the bike, I am happy with this test. We have worked on a few different areas, including setting up the front end of the RR and trying several geometries and solutions. We have achieved some good results. We also tested different engine specifications. Physically though I am not happy as my shoulder was causing difficulties again. I could do some laps but then I struggled and had a lot of pain. I thought it would be much better. We now have to wait and see how I will feel next week. I will now try to rest over the weekend and get some physiotherapy.”

Chaz Davies:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
“It was a productive test again and it was good to ride here in Phillip Island, a track quite different to the circuits we have tested at before. It was also very useful to have two quality days of dry track time. We kept on improving and got closer and closer to the group that I should be with. I feel more and more comfortable on the bike and we improved our understanding of setting up the RR. At the moment I am struggling a little bit to do really fast lap times but I think consistently we are not too far away. This is good and I am just missing a few tenths to where I want to be. Yesterday it was very slippery for the first few hours. I think you were lucky if you did not crash. I had a few moments, not from pushing too hard, but from encountering dirt on the track. But I think that has to be expected when the track has been recently resurfaced, and conditions improved over the test. I tried to be sensible because a lot of riders crashed yesterday and there is potentially a lot to lose before we even start the first race. Generally it was a good test, and we’re going in the right direction. Each time I ride, I find out something new and overall I am quite happy. ”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“Finally we got the chance to test in good weather conditions, though it was a bit windy today. Both days were positive for us. Both crews tried various items and parts for the chassis, engine and electronics. Over these two days, we were able to complete a lot of work and we found a good base for the official test next week, when we start to work on the fine-tuning. As Marco was not one hundred percent fit with his shoulder, we planned a slightly reduced schedule for him and selected the most important parts for him to test. Once we were satisfied with the feedback we decided to stop testing on his side.

“The new surface on the track is smoother but it is also abrasive and is affecting the tyre life. But usually the first day of practice on new asphalt is difficult and normally it gets better day by day, so we think that it will improve for the race over the next couple of testing days. Both Marco and Chaz improved their performance with every outing, both showed good speed and, what is even more important, they were quite consistent. Overall the test was positive, but we have still some more work to do to be one hundred percent prepared for next weekend. The base is good and we are confident that with two more days of testing we will be ready for the race.”

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“It has been a positive test. The weather conditions were good, but today we had a lot of wind. On these two days, we completed an extensive programme and our riders were happy with the work done and the results we achieved. Marco worked a lot on the balance of the bike and also on the electronics. We think that we have found a good compromise. Chaz also worked hard and further improved his confidence on his RR. Due to the new asphalt, the track conditions were pretty difficult, especially on the first day. This resulted in many crashes. We will continue our preparation with two more days of testing at the official test early next week and overall, we are confident and positive for the first race weekend.”

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Phillip Island KRT Private Test Report

Newsflash, 15 February 2013

KRT riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz each had their first test sessions in Australia cut short after crashes and now the riders and team are preparing to come back strong in a few days time.

The 2013 season came one large step closer at the private tests organised at Phillip Island in Australia and despite the bad luck suffered after such a strong campaign of European-based winter testing, all in the official Kawasaki effort now look forward to getting back into action in preparation for raceday on Sunday 24 February.

Sykes fell and injured his left hand on day one after less than ten laps of the PI circuit, which has recently been resurfaced. He underwent a medical examination right away and will be ready to take to the track once again in a few days for the official pre-race tests.

Loris was posting fast times on his first visit to Phillip Island but pushed a little too hard on day one and had a high speed fall. It was decided to rest him to be ready for the next tests at the track in the state of Victoria, after he fell hard and suffered pain in his back.

Now the team turn their thoughts to the official test sessions, on Monday and Tuesday 18 and 19 February, before the first practice sessions for the opening round start for real on Friday 22. Raceday is Sunday 24 February.

Tom Sykes: “I hurt my left hand in a crash after less than ten laps of the circuit, so we decided to rest up afterwards so I can be ready for the official tests in a few days. I do not do much crashing but I got caught out and these things happen in racing. Now we just have to react in the best way to be ready for the next test and then the race. There is no point pushing it because my first flying lap at Phillip Island was nearly into the 1’34s, so I have confidence with my feeling on the bike. We have a test next week and between Kawasaki and the boys in the team, plus all our technical sponsors, we have made massive progress over the winter, so the bike is ready to go. All we missed out on so far are a few extra laps.”

Loris Baz: “It was my first time here and I like the track a lot. I was going very well for a time but I crashed on corner two after 30 laps. It was a big crash and I want to say sorry to Pere, the team and KHI, and I made the mistake. I felt some pain in my back and the team decided not to carry on and to use the time to repair all material to make preparations for the two official test days. I'm really motivated to go again so let's see how we go.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief Sykes: “Technically speaking, we were sorted already with the bike before this test. I believe that we can go well from now and in terms of the bike and the way things have gone in previous winter tests, we should be ready. We did not do so many laps before Tom had his crash but decided not continue. Tom is ready to test on Monday so we will see how much we can do then.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief Baz: “This was the first time for Loris at this track and right away he was going very fast. It seemed like the bike was working well for him on the settings we had from the Jerez test. We just did laps at the beginning, not trying anything new, to give Loris time in the track. So to be doing 1’33 lap times after only 30 laps was very fast. Then he had the crash, so now we prepare for the next tests.”

More, from a press release issued by Team SBK Ducati Alstare:

Team SBK Ducati Alstare and rider Ayrton Badovini have completed a two-day test session at Phillip Island circuit in Australia ahead of next weekend’s opening round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship.

Unfortunately rider Carlos Checa was taken to hospital prior to the start of the test session with stomach pain and nausea. He was subsequently treated for a blocked intestine.
The work therefore fell to Badovini and the young Italian was pleased to be able to make the most of the warm and sunny conditions on day one, making good progress on track and gaining confidence with his 1199 Panigale. The morning of day two however brought a highside at turn 9 that signaled the end of his test session. Worried about a possible broken rib Ayrton was taken to hospital for further checks but fortunately he sustained no serious injuries.

Francis Batta’, Team SBK Ducati Alstare Owner: ‘For me, this is the first real test for the team as a whole - that is all the mechanics working together - and although the bike is new and very different to any previous Ducati, I am very happy with how this project is going. It is a complex project, but a beautiful one and we’re all really looking forward to making it work as well as we can. It is unfortunate that Carlos couldn’t ride at all. He suffered some sort of stomach problem the day after he arrived in Australia. Possibly it was something to do with jet-lag, the air-conditioning on the plane and the change of temperature. He went to hospital, but there are no big problems and we expect him to be back for the tests next week and then the race afterwards. Ayrton made a good start. He took things steadily, but used his head and kept improving. He gave the team a lot of information, so it was a shame that he crashed and couldn’t ride for the rest of the day. He has also gone to hospital (a different one to Carlos). We don’t think there are any problems but await the hospital’s confirmation. I’m a little frustrated because we couldn’t do as much development work as we wanted, but I I am very happy about how well the collaboration with Ducati has been going over these days and we’re all looking forward to getting back on track next week.’

The team hopes for better luck during the official test sessions that will take place on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 at the same track.
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