Long destined to have zero Americans in the U.S. round of the World Superbike Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, that all changed today with the announcement that Blake Young will replace Leon Camier on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Laguna when action gets started on the Monterey Peninsula on September 27.
The ride will reunite Young, who has been mostly idle in 2013 other than the three U.S. MotoGP wild card rides with the Attack Racing CRT bike, with the GSX-R1000 – the motorcycle he’s had the most success with in his career. Let’s not forget that Young finished second in the AMA Superbike Championship to Josh Hayes in 2011 and 2012 before being replaced on the Yoshimura Suzuki team by Martin Cardenas for 2013. Yoshimura, however, was a key player in helping Young get the Crescent ride.
“I’m absolutely pumped and blown away,” Young said in a phone call from his Wisconsin home this morning. “First off I just want to say that I hope that Leon [Camier] is feeling better and I wish him a speedy recovery. I also have to say thank you to the Crescent Suzuki team for giving me the opportunity and considering me to ride their bike at Laguna. It’s pretty exciting and I can’t wait.”
It’s no secret that Young and the Attack Racing team suffered at the three MotoGPs this season, but the World Superbike opportunity is one that Young should shine in. After all, he’s back on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 and on a racetrack he knows well. The only unknown is the Pirelli spec-tires.
“That was my first thought when I heard about the opportunity,” Young said of being back on a GSX-R. “This year has been pretty tough for me just trying to find and search and find my way again on the CRT bike. There will be a few new things with the World Superbike that I will have to learn and adapt quickly to, but for the most part it will be a familiar home that I will find myself settling into. I’m really excited. I can’t wait. I’ve always had pretty good success with the GSX-R1000 and Suzuki. I can’t wait.”
The 25-year-old Young has won 13 AMA Superbike Nationals in his career.
Camier broke seven bones in his foot – three of which had to be pinned – in a crash in Friday morning practice at the Istanbul Park Circuit in Turkey last week. Young will join Frenchman Jules Cluzel on the team.
The news of Young’s return to Superbike action bolsters a thinning grid for the Laguna Seca round as the series lost Camier, Max Neukirchner and Carlos Checa to injury in Turkey. At the round before, the series lost Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea to a broken femur and Kawasaki’s Loris Baz to a neck injury. Baz, however, may be able to return to action at Laguna.