It has been over four years since Leon Camier last stood on the WorldSBK podium, but since Silverstone 2013 the Englishman has been able to do something remarkable; rebuild his reputation without having the silverware to show for it.
Having raced for Aprilia and Suzuki following his 2009 British Superbike title success, Camier was left high and dry for 2014 and had to take on the role of super sub for the season. It must have been a humbling experience for Camier but it has certainly made him a stronger and more rounded racer and since joining MV Augusta in 2015 he been the focal point of their WorldSBK program.
"The bike has evolved from when I first rode it," said Camier. "It was not a very good race bike at the start, and now it is really quite competitive. A lot of that is down to the technicians that we have and obviously from my feedback and being able to tell the team exactly what I want from a bike. I have to understand how the bike works, how the team works and how exact I have to be with my feedback. It's not enough to say, 'I need a smoother throttle.' I have to be in depth about what's going on and the knock-on effect that any change can have on other parts of the bike too."
Progress on a budget
"When you're developing a bike you need to look at everything, because we're not testing regularly because of budget issues. That means that any time we can spend developing the bike has to be really focused. I think that it's really impressive what we've been able to achieve given the resources. One of the biggest reasons for how we've been able to move things forward is that we have the right people and they're all motivated to make the progress. We are working in the right direction, and considering the budget that we have, we've been able to make some really good progress."
"We've made a massive step in absolutely every area since I first rode the MV in 2014. I think the biggest change that we have made since then is probably with the chassis and the weight distribution. At the time, all of the weight was really high and at the front of the bike. The bike was so soft that you couldn't feel what the tires were doing. Since then we've been able to stiffen it up in all areas, and compared to 2014, you wouldn't believe how different it is. Now the chassis is the strong point of the bike."
The price of reliability
The rider has also been noted as a real trump card for the team. Camier has seen his reputation go from strength to strength in the last two seasons as he developed the MV into a genuine front-running bike. For the 31-year-old Englishman the goal is to win races again, but reliability issues have consistently dogged his season and until those problems are solved it is hard to see MV being able to take the fight to the leading bikes on a weekly basis.
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