Encouraging first day for Hopkins and Camier despite difficult conditions2012-07-20 18:03
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racers John Hopkins and Leon Camier are safely within the provisional positions for tomorrow’s Superpole despite difficult conditions on the first day of the ninth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship from Brno in the Czech Republic.
Hopkins recorded a best time of 2’00.528 during his 11-laps around the 5,403m Brno circuit in this afternoon’s first qualifying session, giving him 12th place overall on the leader-board. He worked on tyre and chassis settings during this morning’s practice session and found a clear direction for the weekend ahead. Unfortunately the weather this afternoon prevented him from making further progress and he will now be looking to improve tomorrow.
Camier was just 0.087 seconds behind his team-mate, as he posted the 13th fastest time of the afternoon from his 12 circulations of the Czech track. Like all riders today he struggled with the conditions, but was able to post a time that secured a provisional place in tomorrow afternoon’s Superpole. Camier will be striving to cement that place in the final qualifying session on Saturday morning, to give him the opportunity of getting a good starting position for Sunday’s races on his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R.
The morning untimed session was overcast and dry, but the afternoon qualifying session was beset by occasional bouts of rain which prevented the riders from pushing too hard. Davide Giugliano on a Ducati posted the fastest time in this afternoon, with Marco Melandri of BMW second and Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty third.
Hopkins and Camier will have a final qualifying session tomorrow morning to confirm their positions in the afternoon’s Superpole session, where the top-16 riders will be battling for the best grid positions in Sunday’s two races, the first of which gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST).
“We had a couple of small issues this morning, but the boys fixed the problems and I began putting in the laps. I spent most of the morning session trying out different tyres and once we found a pretty decent one, we then started to work on the chassis settings. Unfortunately it rained on-and-off during this afternoon’s qualifying session and it was hard to know how much of the track was dry and how much was wet, so I didn’t push it too hard. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki feels pretty good and the feeling between me and the bike is the best it has been for some time and that is making my confidence grow. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday and feel positive I can get my best results of the season this weekend.”
“The conditions in qualifying this afternoon were a bit tricky. It’s like that when it rains a bit, then stops, then starts again. It’s hard to know which parts of the track are OK and which are a bit slippery. It’s a bit risky pushing too hard, but you’ve got to push to make sure of getting into Superpole and that’s what I did. I feel my FIXI Crescent Suzuki has improved a since Aragon and I think there’s more to come, which is good news. This afternoon, in qualifying, I tried a different compound tyre, but it just didn’t work - so I came back to the pits for another. During this time we were also trying to find a gap in the weather and fortunately we found one and did enough to get into the Superpole places.”
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
“Our first objective today was to get both riders into Superpole places and we managed that, so I’m pretty happy with how the day went. When the first spots of rain fell this afternoon, we were in the danger zone, but both riders responded well to the challenge and we even finished ahead of the likes of Biaggi and Rea.
“I am also satisfied because both sessions were virtually trouble free and that’s a good start to the weekend. John and Leon improved their chassis set-ups in the second session and this should go towards helping them in qualifying and Superpole tomorrow. Although a second off the pole, they ended qualifying only 0.3-of-a-second off the sixth fastest rider today, so once again, things are pretty close. Hopefully, they will confirm their places in Superpole and get good grid positions for Sunday’s races.”
Brno - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Qualifying 1:
1. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1'59.452: 2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'59.545: 3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1'59.693: 4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'59.850: 5. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 2'00.180: 12. JOHN HOPKINS (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 2'00.528: 13. LEON CAMIER (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) 2'00.615:
Source: Crescent Motorcycle
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