The World Superbike team roster will grow a little bit next year, as Crescent Suzuki, formerly of British Superbike fame, will join the premier production motorcycle racing series. While there was considerable chatter over whom would ride for Crescent Suzuki, the British team has confirmed that Leon Camier will race on the company’s Suzuki GSX-R1000 race bike. Leaving some room for more paddock speculation, Crescent Suzuki says it will announce Camier’s teammate at a later date, an announcement that surely is influenced by whether or not John Hopkins makes a move to the MotoGP Championship for the 2012 season.
After finishing seventh in the World Superbike Championship, Camier was displaced from the factory Aprilia WSBK squad by fourth-place finisher Eugene Laverty. While Camier was no slouch on the Aprilia RSV4 Factory, Aprilia Racing is surely feeling the pressure from the other World Superbike teams, and is looking to beef up its roster with the acquisition of the Irishman. The move has already boded well for the Italian brand, as Laverty posted the quickest testing time at the recent Portimao test, helping him gain the nod to the factory-supported team.
“I am absolutely thrilled and excited to be joining the Crescent team and with the opportunity to ride the GSX-R1000!” exclaimed Camier. “My first two years in WSB have been tough but I’ve learnt a lot and had some good results to build on, so this is a great opportunity for me. I have met with Jack and Paul and it’s clear that the team’s attitude suits me perfectly.”
“I feel we all have the same goals and I can’t wait to start testing. I’m really looking forward to the new season and I believe that 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.”
Meanwhile with Hopkins just barely missing the BSB Championship title, the Anglo-American has made no secret of his desire to return to MotoGP. With the close ties between the Crescent Suzuki race team and the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP squad, Hopkins’ most direct route to MotoGP would be through that channel. However with Suzuki’s involvement in MotoGP for the 2012 season a big question mark, Hopper has been linked to opportunities in the LCR Honda garage as well.
“We are really pleased to get the first signing under our belt! Leon is a rider I’ve always admired and he did a super job when he was in BSB,” said Crescent Suzuki Team Manager Jack Valentine. “We’re all looking forward to welcoming him to the team and I’m sure he will fit in well. We work as one team in the garage and this creates a good, strong atmosphere and I am sure that is something that he will benefit from.”
“The Suzuki GSX-R is more than capable of achieving podium results in World Superbike and 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.”
With those MotoGP silly season chips likely to fall by this weekend’s end, we suspect an announcement about Crescent’s WSBK plans will follow shortly thereafter. Stay tuned WSBK and MotoGP fans.