After making a very solid recovery from slow pace in the first days of official WorldSBK Phillip Island testing, to running close to the front in qualifying Leon Camier and the highl HRC -upported Moriwaki Althea Honda team could have exceeded initial expectations again in the first three races of the season.
In reality, however, Camier is 16th in the championship table after one race finish of tenth in the regular second race – in the 2019 season that means the final race on the weekend.
Camier was unmoved by having two races on Sunday, as well as one race on Saturday to deal with in 2019. “It was just another race, so get on with it really. We struggled a lot in the sprint race this morning, however. I felt pretty good yesterday and felt we were going forward and had the potential to push on with Melandri and Cortese. This morning I felt really bad. Struggling to do what I wanted on track in cooler conditions,” Camier told bikesportnews.com
“And then I also got into trouble this morning off the start. I got hooked up with a load people and I think Toprak hit me twice. Rinaldi went right off track in front of me and I got caught up in all of that. Then this afternoon in the second race the bike felt a fair bit better again - but for sure we lose early on.
“There are as few areas where we lose, which does not help, but then as the race goes on it becomes a bit more even. I think I could have gone with Chaz if I could have got through the traffic as well as him. The pace was I think similar, if anything I was just catching Cortese, but yes, there are a few areas we are losing, that would make a big difference in racing - in races.”
On balance it has been an up and down first real contact with WorldSBK and Honda, HRC and the hybrid Moriwaki/Althea team. Camier agrees it has been a series of ups and downs.
“Yes, it is all part of it,” he stated. “We are just trying to understand what is making it better and what is making it worse. We made some good progress over the weekend, really good, but then it seemed to be a little bit harder this morning on Sunday. To race is one thing - and to go fast is one thing. When you are getting beaten up and people are coming past you and holding you up in up in the corners - it is difficult to race like that.”
Camier is not confident that the next round in Thailand, at the Chang International Circuit, will be a happy hunting ground, even if it is where he tested the Suzuka 8-Hour style Fireblade first of all. He may get some new parts to try. Maybe.
“Parts, I hope so,” he said. “Understanding how Honda and HRC work it seems like it is as step-by-step process. It is not going to be ten things to try in one weekend. It might be one thing it might be not a lot. It will be a gradual process of improving. I think there will be tracks that are better for us and some track where we will be finding it quite hard. But that is pretty normal. Chang will be really hard. I think it is going to be harder there.”