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Leon Camier on MotoGP™ debut

Leon Camier on MotoGP™ debut

Leon Camier will become the fifth British rider on the MotoGP™ starting grid as he makes his premier class debut at Indianapolis this weekend. He will substitute for Nicky Hayden at Drive M7 Aspar, as the 2006 World Champion recovers from surgery.

With Hayden having undergone an operation to address the ongoing issue with his right wrist, Camier will ride as team-mate to Hiroshi Aoyama on the Honda RCV1000R for at least the Indianapolis and Czech Republic rounds. This comes as the second half of the season begins, with Camier – who celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday – having originally been set to start the season with IodaRacing Project before being prevented from doing so due to the loss of a sponsor.

Leon, you are about to make your MotoGP™ debut at Indianapolis. How are you feeling?
It’s all quite exciting! The biggest thing is just to learn. I don’t think there’s any expectation, it’s just about learning. I’m very much in at the deep end: the team, bike, tyres and brakes are all new and I don’t know the track either. So it’s quite a challenge, to be honest!

How did the Aspar ride come about?
After I lost the Ioda ride, I rode for BMW in World Superbikes after Sylvain Barrier hurt himself. I had a few races with them which were really good. As that ended, I got a phone call from Aspar to see what the situation was because they knew there was a problem with Nicky’s wrist. Basically, I had to be on call in case Nicky couldn’t ride. He decided to have his operation and then I was called in.

Is there a specific target for this weekend?
I don’t have one at the moment. I just need to take it as it comes because everything is new. I do not know anything about the situation at the minute, so I’ll just keep trying it until we get to qualifying, Warm-Up and so on. I’m sure I will keep improving. With a lot of riders who have come from Superbikes, it takes the best part of a year to learn, so for me to just jump in for two races is quite a learning curve [laughs]!

Although many parts of this challenge are new to you, one familiar aspect will be Frankie Carchedi who you have worked with before…
Yeah, absolutely. There are a few technicians in the team and Frankie is one of the guys in charge of chassis and electronics. He knows what I am normally looking for from a bike and I think that will make a definite difference. I just have to get on and try. This is the first step. As soon as I try, I will know where I am with everything. For sure, I understand the challenge that I am up against, but at the same time I am only here for a couple of races until Nicky is ready, whenever that may be. I don’t need to try to do something particularly special; I just have to learn – that is the biggest thing.

Should Nicky Hayden not be ready to return after Brno, you may find yourself competing in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone...
To be honest, that would be a dream come true for me. Not to wish any misfortune upon Nicky, though, because I know from being in exactly the same position as him that it is not a nice feeling to have someone else coming in and taking your ride, even if it is only temporarily. I know that in the whole paddock Nicky is regarded as a legend in MotoGP, so I wouldn’t wish anything bad upon him, but of course I would love to ride in my home Grand Prix.

Do you think your Aspar rides will have a bearing on what happens next year?
I’m sure if I jumped on and started beating Marquez, then I might have a chance of a ride in MotoGP next year [laughs]! Realistically, you never know. If everything goes well, then maybe something could happen, but I’m not expecting any miracles.

So is it still too early to talk about next season?
To be honest, I’m not interested in going to MotoGP unless it is with something competitive. It’s the same with World Superbikes; you could go there with a bike and situation that is not quite right and you will just be at the back – it’s as simple as that. The way the Superbike rules are heading is allowing for a lot more bikes to be potentially fast. From what I understand, that is how MotoGP is heading as well, trying to make things a bit closer between the bikes and teams at the front and those in the mid-pack. My options are open at the moment. I am just waiting to see what happens. I know that in World Superbikes everyone starts talking within the next month or two, so I will see what happens and go from there.

Are you talking with any MotoGP™ teams about a ride for 2015?
There have been discussions about some things but for now we have to wait and see. Everything is really early days and it’s all very open for now.


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