#CRESCENT FIXI #SUZUKI UPBEAT AT #MONZA
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 5.
Crescent FIXI Suzuki's John Hopkins and Leon Camier will start tomorrow's Monza World Superbike Championship fourth round from row three of the grid after continually changing weather conditions at the Italian circuit made tyre choice and set-up extremely difficult this afternoon.
Hopkins, who will start in ninth position, was unlucky not to get through to the final top eight shoot-out after getting held up twice on his last flying lap, but overall feels more confident in the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000's wet set-up. Team-mate Camier starts from 12th on the grid after struggling to make his tyres work because of the difficult conditions, but is in an upbeat mood for tomorrow's race following a confidence-building day today.
Despite the qualifying and Superpole sessions held in neither fully wet or dry conditions - which made getting the tyres to perform to their best virtually impossible - Hopkins and Camier remain positive for Sunday's races.
Sylvain Guintoli on a Ducati secured his first-ever World Superbike pole position this afternoon to put him at the front of the grid for tomorrow's races.
Hopkins and Camier take to the track for the first race in Monza tomorrow at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST), but with similar weather forecast it looks like tyre choice will be an all important factor.
John Hopkins - 9th, 1'59.489:
"The weather has been very up and down all day and that has made life difficult for all of us. There was never a time when the track was either wet or dry and so finding a good set-up in changing conditions was not easy. This afternoon I had an off-track excursion when I suddenly hit a soaking wet part of the track. The conditions had been dry, but rain had fallen just before the Parabolica. There were no warning flags out and when I braked in my usual place, at about 180 mph, I hit the wet track. I managed to keep the bike upright through the gravel and gently laid it down when I was close to the tyre wall.
"In 'Wet Superpole,' I tried full Wets, but the track wasn't really wet enough and the tyres wore out very quickly. If the conditions are the same tomorrow, I think we'll all have some problems. I feel a huge improvement in the bike on rain tyres compared to Assen. I also feel much more confident about riding in the wet and feel positive I can get some good results tomorrow."
Leon Camier -12th, 1'59,845:
"The conditions were changeable today and that made it difficult for us. Today I tried to get my confidence back after the Assen weekend and I feel I have made some good progress in that direction. It's been hard to get a good set-up today because the conditions never stayed consistent in any one session. We tried full wets, but the track was never really wet enough and the tyres were shot after a couple of laps. The bike feels OK and, depending on the conditions and how the tyres last, I think I can finish with good results tomorrow."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"The conditions were very on-off today and it's been hard coping with all the changes in the weather but I am pleased with the team's performance, especially with the improvement in the electronics. It's been difficult to set good times all weekend and I think we were a bit unlucky in 'Wet Superpole' because John should have gone into the final eight. I'm sure he would've managed if he hadn't been held up on his flying lap at the end of the session.
"I'm pretty happy generally because we've made a step forward today despite the dodgy conditions. My only worry for tomorrow is if the conditions (half wet, half dry) are the same as today because the tyres don't look as if they'll last. But the situation will be the same for everybody and there will be a lot of gambling with tyre choice, which may produce some strange results. It's good to see that John and Leon are feeling more confident again and that makes me think we can get some positive results tomorrow."
Monza Superpole: 1. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1'54.276: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'54.990: 3. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'55.971: 4. Carlos Checa (Ducati): 5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1'57.630: 6 Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'58.666. 9. John Hopkins (Crescent FIXI Suzuki) 1'59.489. 12. Leon Camier (Crescent FIXI Suzuki) 1'59.845.
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