SOLID 1ST DAY FOR FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI2012-06-29 18:50
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racers Leon Camier and John Hopkins had a profitable first day at the eighth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Aragon in Spain today.
Camier and Hopkins are comfortably within the provisional top-16 for tomorrow's Superpole after they recorded the ninth and 12th quickest times respectively during this afternoon's first qualifying session. Camier recorded a best time of 2'00.147 from his 12-laps around the 5,344m Motorland Aragon circuit. Hopkins (2'00.570) saved his best till last as he posted his quickest time on his 11th - and final - lap of the afternoon onboard his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000. Camier and Hopkins produced one of their strongest joint first days of the season so far today. This is especially encouraging for the team as it's the first visit Hopkins has made to Aragon for a race weekend and also that both riders are confident there is more to come as the weekend progresses.
Today's practice and qualifying were held in very hot conditions as air temperatures reached 37°C and the track surface hit 60°C at its peak during this afternoon's session. Marco Melandri took provisional Pole Position this afternoon on a BMW with current World Championship leader Max Biaggi on an Aprilia in second.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will have a final qualifying session of 45-minutes tomorrow morning when Camier and Hopkins will be aiming to cement their positions in the final-16 shoot-out for the afternoon Superpole. Their goal will be to secure the best grid places for Sunday's two races, the first of which gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST).
"I would've been higher up the grid if it wasn't for a little mistake on my fast lap. Coming out of the last turn, I ran a bit wide and went onto the grass and lost time. I'm sure I would've easily got my FIXI Crescent Suzuki into the 1:59s otherwise. This is the kind of track where you need to be smooth and flowing, but sometimes I was a bit too aggressive and so the lap times didn't come. We tried quite a few different settings today and I'm confident that there's room for improvement tomorrow and I'm looking forward to that."
"The high track temperatures affected us adversely, because normally we can make up time on the others on our speed into the turns and in the turns themselves. But when the track is so hot, the tyres limit what can be done and make it the same for everybody and so the advantage is lost. I had a little fall this morning, at the slowest corner on the circuit, but picked the bike up and rode it back to the pits undamaged. I only saw this track for the first time last week and although it is a bit of a challenge, I really like it. There's more to come from me and the GSX-R tomorrow and the cooler it is, the better we'll go."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"I think that today was not a bad day for us. Both riders finished comfortably in the top 12 and I'm sure they'll be quicker tomorrow. This morning Leon showed good pace and was only 0.8 seconds off the fastest time. He was also quicker than he was in last week's tests. John was also running very well in the morning free practice and was fourth fastest for a while, but a small fall cost him time. Otherwise he probably would've finished in the top six. We're ahead of all the Ducatis and the factory Hondas and hopefully tomorrow we'll see more improvement and a decent and positive qualifying."
Aragon - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Qualifying 1: 1. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'58.608: 2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'58.973: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'59.123: 4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1'59.263: 5. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1'59.396. 9. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 2'00.147. 12. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 2'00.570.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office
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