Who better than a rider to understand the needs of another rider? A consideration Honda has clearly made in confirming Leon Camier as the new team manager of team HRC in Superbike. A surprising choice perhaps, but then again, perhaps not. The Englishman had a very tough 2020 season as a rider, largely due to physical problems that prevented him from racing for team Barni, with whom he was contracted for the season.

Leon returned to the paddock for the final rounds of the season, but in the role of coach and assistant to his close friend, Chaz Davies. And now the rider takes on a new role, replacing Jaume Colom and tasked with coordinating the teams of Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista, who in turn are called upon to improve on last season’s results.

Camier: “A big change in my personal and professional life”

“I’ve been a Honda rider for several seasons - states Leon - and now I’m proud to be back with the company for what is a major change in my professional and personal life. I’m prepared to work hard to achieve our goals and, having raced in SBK for many years, I know the championship and its challenges very well, although the current period further exacerbates these issues”.

Camier’s first experience 'in the field' comes with the upcoming Jerez tests, scheduled to run on Thursday and Friday. These sessions will give Leon the chance to gain confidence with both his new role and the members of team HRC.

“I'll be working alongside two very strong riders like Alvaro and Leon, and such a professional group of people, and I am confident we’ll be able to fight for top results. We now have two days of testing at Jerez, and I really look forward to starting this new and exciting adventure”.

Bautista: “Curious to see the results of the work in Japan”

The Jerez test is just around the corner, and one rider who is bound to attract attention is Alvaro Bautista, who needs to prove he is deserving of ‘team captain’ status.

“I’m very happy to start again and curious to see what has been done during the winter period in Japan. We’ll have some things to try so that we can make some steps forward in terms of bike setup and development. We’ll have to see what conditions are like of course, because it’s not easy to find ideal conditions in January. It’s nevertheless important to provide the HRC engineers in Japan with some useful feedback. This winter I’ve worked hard on my physical and mental training, and I’m overjoyed about the birth of my second daughter, who arrived before the action gets underway!”

Leon Haslam is also keen to get back to work, the Brit now a veteran of the production-derived series.

“It’s been a long winter, a strange one too, as we normally only really have a couple of weeks off before winter testing gets underway. It’s been nice to have some down time with friends, but the pandemic has made things quite difficult in terms of training. I’ve been keeping in regular contact with everyone in recent weeks and I’m keen to see where we are in terms of our current technical situation”.

Translated by Heather Watson

WorldSBK, Bautista: “I've been lucky but I deserve what I've achieved”