Tuesday, November 8

NEW SUZUKI TEAM IN SWC SERIES

WHILE there is still doubt whether the Alstare Suzuki team will participate in the 2012 Superbike World Championship, two GSX-R1000s look likely to be fielded by the English Crescent Suzuki team.

Joining what is planned as a two rider team is 2009 British Superbike Champion Leon Camier, who raced for Aprilia on the RSV4 in the 2010 and 2011 Superbike World Championships.

Camier, who stands 1.90 metres (f feet 3 inches) is unusually tall for a modern motorcycle racer and had great difficulty getting comfortable on the diminutive Aprilia and may be better suited to the slightly rangier GSX-R1000.

English by birth but of French Hugenot descent, Camier started racing at age six on grass-tracks then graduated to Junior road racing on an 80cc machine and became British Junior 80 Road Racing Champion in 1998 at age 12.

Camier raced for Honda for a while in England and in 2007 contested the BSB Championship on a Fireblade, but a major crash at Cadwell Park saw his season brought to a premature end with a broken femur and pelvis.

In 2008 he joined the GSE Airwaves Ducati team and raced an 1198R to fifth in the BSB Championship before joining Yamaha to campaign the then new cross-plane crankshaft YZF-R1 in 2009. This was an enormously successful season for Camier: he won a staggering total of 18 races.

However, he never felt at home at Aprilia, and like many riders through modern racing history, being team-mates with mercurial Massamiliano Biaggi was a challenge.

Crescent Suzuki has been a Suzuki dealer since 1963 and has contested the British Superbike Championship since 1996, enjoying success in both Supersport and Superbike classes, and only missed out on the 2011 British Superbike title by the very narrowest of margins after a thrilling finale, when Anglo-American rider John Hopkins was pipped at the post by Swan Yamaha’s Tommy Hill.

Hopkins led the championship into the final race at Brands Hatch 629 points to Hill’s 627 and in a torrid race that saw the lead change at least five times on the last lap, Hill won narrowly and thus took the crown.

The Crescent Suzuki team, headed by Suzuki MotoGP team manager Paul Denning, has also achieved multiple World Superbike podiums over the years, when entered as a ‘Wild Card’, and achieved pole position with Hopkins at this year's Silverstone SWC race.
“I am absolutely thrilled and I can’t wait to start testing,” says Camier.

“I’m really looking forward to the new season and I believe the Suzuki GSX-R is certainly a very capable bike, especially with the technical plan the guys have in place. This is a fantastic chance for me to take the next step in my career and I’m very thankful to the guys at Crescent for giving me the opportunity.”

“The Suzuki GSX-R is more than capable of achieving podium results in World Superbike,” opines Crescent Suzuki team manager Jack Valentine, who adds: “Leon has already showed that he is capable of producing them as well, so we should be a good partnership. I am sure that the addition of an aggressive, focused rider like Leon to our team, plus the developments planned for the 2012 GSX-R1000, will put us in a good position for the start of Crescent Suzuki’s first year of World Superbike competition.”