Magny-Cours WorldSBK: Gossip, rumour and intrigue

Picture: GeeBee Images

Leon Camier’s heavily-rumoured move to the Red Bull Honda WorldSBK camp more than likely took another step forward on Sunday after the former BSB’s champion’s MV Agusta decided it didn’t want a maiden podium and ground to a halt while Camier was sitting pretty.

On screen, Camier is the epitome of laid-back calm but the Andorra resident must be frustrated beyond belief with the mechanical problems that have beset MV. Although the Honda is not exactly scorching the wig off anyone’s head, a comprehensive testing schedule, a rev limit and some other concessions - including a qualifying tyre for those not in Q2 - might go some way to getting a pen in Camier’s hand.

Who might join him in the team is another subject of much speculation. Stefan Bradl is injured - again - and it is not clear whether Honda actually want him to stay. Nothing, so far as anyone outside the team knows, has been signed and with Loris Baz looking for work, Honda Europe could have the tallest team in racing history for 2018 - an estimated 12ft 8in which is the same as an average sized African elephant. And the trunk is already in place.

Baz’s manager has dismissed the idea that his charge will have to purchase a seat in the series. Eric Mahe confirmed that Baz has never taken money to a team and isn’t about to start now. And he thinks Avintia Ducati have made a big error wheeling in Xavier Simeon and his Belgian TV money. Baz’s other options are Puccetti Kawasaki - but will have to fight Sylvain Guintoli for it - Althea BMW, Ioda Aprilia and MV if Camier chooses to leave the building.

It’s ‘game on’ for second place in the WorldSBK title race so far as Chaz Davies is concerned. Having been stuffed by Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki again, the Welshman closed in on Tom Sykes’ runner-up spot at Magny-Cours and is now only nine points behind with 100 left on the table.

However, Davies is hopeful that there will be no ‘games’ this season as there were last when Rea allowed Sykes through so he could claim second place. Rea told bikesportnews.com at the weekend that no team orders had been issued by boss Guim Roda. Yet.

Sykes, meanwhile, didn’t think he would even be able to race in France and took in a two-country tour of specialists before heading to Many-Cours. At the behest of old boss Philip Neill, Sykes travelled to Ireland to get the opinion of a doctor recommended by Neill, then went to Barcelona to see his consultant who also waves the magic sponge at footballists before the drive to France. All this to get past the medical on Thursday.

The WorldSBK calendar is starting to take shape with Laguna Seca dates now confirmed but there may yet be some intrigue with the British round. Donington has made a substantial loss on the May date for the last few years as they have been waiting in the wings for the Circuit of Wales exercise to fall on its arse and then pick up the MotoGP pieces.

If Donington, under the new management of Jonathan Palmer, aren’t granted the sanction for MotoGP, could we see a refusal to entertain Superbikes as it’s not financially viable? Stranger things have happened and, after all, Palmer could be in a bidding war with Lance Stroll’s dad for the second seat at Williams in F1. However, Lawrence S Stroll, according to Forbes, has a net worth of US$2.4 billion and reportedly spent $80m to secure his son’s drive. That’s 2,666,666 tickets to British Superbikes…

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