FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier picked up where he left off after the previous pre-season test by setting the pace on the first of two days of official testing ahead of this weekend's World Superbike curtain-raiser.
The Brit ended the previous test with a destructive crash in the fast final corner of the repaved Phillip Island circuit, but that was days ago and today he was back on form. On a day of brilliant sunshine and searing heat, Camier spent the morning working the kinks out of the newly re-built motorcycle before making a run at the clock. In the afternoon, Camier clocked a best lap of 1:32.243, which is half a second under the previous race record held by Max Biaggi.
"We needed to change some stuff after the bike had been re-built, so this morning there was no big hurry to push from the start," Camier said after completing 62 laps of the track that was yielding fast times. "We changed the bike a bit in the lunch break, because, unfortunately, it didn't quite feel the same as it did before I smashed it up last week. The feeling came back and we also had to change quite a bit because of the heat; I did the same lap time in the cooler conditions last week as I did in the heat today, so I think we did a pretty good job."
Good enough to finish .153 of a second in front of Pata Honda World Superbike's Leon Haslam, the Brit who was only .005 of a second faster than Red Devils Roma's Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia). Aprilia factory rider Eugene Laverty was a close fourth (1:32.452) with BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK's Marco Melandri also on the same 10th as Haslam.
"It's very close at the top, so it doesn't really count for anything, because the race will be difficult and the other guys have got some time to perfect what they've got," Camier acknowledged. "We are in quite good shape at the moment, but we know there is still a lot to do for the rest of this week."
Team Ducati Alstare's Carlos Checa returned to the track after being hospitalized with a blocked intestine that forced him out of last week's two-day test. The 2011 World Superbike Champion finished with the sixth fastest time.