Outgoing Team Manager Leon Camier discussed how Honda will look in 2024, with a new bike and new personnel joining the team
Team HRC ventured to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for a one-day test and, although the rain meant they didn’t do any running, as teams from the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship gear up for 2024. It was supposed to be the team’s second chance to run the new CBR1000RR-R machine with riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge, although these plans have been put to the wayside. At the test, Team Manager Leon Camier spoke about the new bike, how there will be changes to the Team HRC staff for next year and his memories from his stint at the team as he prepares to depart.
“I HOPE IT’S ENOUGH TO BE COMPETITIVE” – Camier on new CBR1000RR-R
Honda announced a new CBR1000RR-R machine for 2024 at the EICMA show in November, with Lecuona and teammate Vierge riding it for the first time at Jerez a couple of weeks ago. Although the team were at Portimao for a one-day test, with wet conditions they decided not to go out, although the outgoing Camier was still able to provide his thoughts on the bike and outline the next stages of development.
Camier said: “The new bike’s a step in the direction we want. I hope it’s enough to be competitive, we will see. Obviously, it’s a new package so it needs time to develop so we can really understand the bike we’ve got. It’s not the final version before round one. There will be some small progress over the Christmas period and then the bike we will start with next year will be slightly different again. Hopefully, the technicians have enough information that they can go back and come with some more parts for next year.
When pressed on where the upgrades would be seen on the bike, Camier added: “This is all something we have to go through and discuss with the Japanese engineers exactly the direction they want to go. We know from the team’s side which things we would like to go in the direction of, but this is something that we need to work out with Japan and what we can do in the time frame we have and confirm the package we’ll start with next year.”
A NEW-LOOK TEAM HRC FOR 2024: Camier departs, new people brought in
There have been several changes to the team for 2024. After three seasons, Camier will depart Team HRC with Jose Escamez coming in as his replacement while Tom Jojic has joined the team as Lecuona’s Crew Chief. Explaining the reasoning behind these changes, Camier said: “Basically, we made some changes at the end of this year as one of my last jobs as Team Manager. We’ve tried to improve the technical side of the team, to bring in people with some more experience and a different background. We’ve added a few staff to try and help behind the scenes as well, with technical support for the crew chiefs. The goal is to try to improve in every area; not just the bike, we also need to try and improve the team on the technical side. This is something I’ve been working on in the last months. I think the team will be stronger next year. I think, in general, the team will be better. Hopefully the bike can make a good step and hopefully we can have some results.”
MEMORIES AS TEAM MANAGER: “The podiums have been a highlight”
As Camier’s latest stint in WorldSBK comes to an end – and he didn’t rule out returning in the future in some capacity – he reflected on his best memories at Honda. The Brit said: “There’s been lots of ups and downs! The podiums have been a highlight and it’s nice to see when the project is moving forwards, and everything is going in a good direction. You take a lot of satisfaction in the position I’m in, seeing this progress. It’s hard to say one memory. There’s been many ups and downs, but this is racing, it’s something I’ve known for many years as a rider. It’s been a privilege and an honour to be in this position and help try to grow the project.”
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