World SBK Suzuki Season Preview 2013

February 20, 2013
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki did not have the season it hoped for in 2012. American rider and former MotoGP competitor, John Hopkins, endured a string of severe crashes over the course of the season, eventually leading him to take 2013 off entirely to rehabilitate and consider the next step in his career. Leon Camier proved more successful than Hopkins, but only managed14th overall and makde the podium once, a third-place finish in Race 2 at Nurburgring. The 14th-place debut season with Suzuki was a far cry from the former British Superbike champ’s two-year SBK tenure at Aprilia – where he was a regular podium threat.

Camier returns with the Suzuki squad in 2013, and is joined by premier-class rookie Jules Cluzel. Cluzel had a notable season in World Supersport last year, earning four race wins, four additional podiums and finishing second in the WSS championship behind Kawasaki rider Kenan Sofuoglu. The French rider began competing in 2004, contesting a number of National championship before moving to the 250cc World Championship in 2009. In 2010 he rode in Moto2 and finished seventh overall followed by a disappointing 21st in 2011.

Prior to Cluzel being appointed to the premier-class, it appeared as if Sylvain Guintoli would be the rider to replace Hopkins in 2013. In October of 2012 it was announced that Guintoli had backed out of the agreement to pursue another option, which turned out to be the factory Aprilia seat.

The off-season saw Camier undergo a minor surgery to remove screws from his wrist, remnants of a crash sustained back in 2010 during practice at Nurburgring. During recent testing at Phillip Island Camier posted the top lap time and broke the circuit lap record on Day 1, finding speed which he hopes to carry through to the season opener and beyond.

2013 Suzuki SBK Roster:
#2 Leon Camier – FIXI Crescent Suzuki
#16 Jules Cluzel – FIXI Crescent Suzuki

Want to get in on the 2013 World Superbike action? Play Motorcycle USA’s Fantasy Superbike for a chance to win prizes like a VIP trip to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and $50 gift cards from Get in on the action before it’s too late. Round 1 at Phillip Island is set for February 24th!