Like all of his peer group Leon Camier got no final race to sign off his 2018 season, but there was no other sensible decision to make but to cut the season short by one, with rivers of water across the track in some places.
“It was the right decision today, 100 per cent,” said the Red Bull Honda man. “It is just a massive risk; it makes not a lot of sense.”
It was a damp squib of an ending to a season that offered so much to Camier at one time. After a dreadful 2017 season for the Red Bull Honda crew, as soon as Camier got on the bike in the winter tests the entire project looked likely to start paying off. Tellingly, Camier’s best results came at the beginning of the year, before tech issues, crashes and injuries took their toll.
“Obviously testing went good, the first races went good, at Phillip Island we were in the lead group in race two, battling with the Yamahas, whatever, in race one we had some dramas,” said Camier about round one. “In Thailand in race two we had the potential to be on the podium but we had a little bit of an issue.”
A major change in electronics from Cosworth to Marelli and the start of a litany of injuries changed the trajectory of the Red Bull Honda season from round three in Aragon onwards. “Back to Europe we changed the electronics package. People do not probably quite understand the problem of how big a thing that is. They did a really good job to get all those things up and running, but at the same time there have been some things underlying.
“Our side of the garage has gone one side and the other side of the garage has gone the other way. I think we did not quite figure it out very well, in my opinion. Hence we have been really, really, really struggling for a lot of races and it was from that point. Then I had that crash – ribs, shoulder, lung – and went to Japan, managed to break my back. It has been a fight to the end of the year.”
Although Camier has been agonisingly close to podiums in both his three-year WorldSBK MV Agusta stint, and his 2018 Honda adoption, his last podium was in 2013, at Silverstone on a Suzuki.
The popular and highly rated former BSB Champion now needs a ‘clean’ approach to his 2019 season, and almost certainly more technical help from Honda in Japan, to get his and his team’s podium expectations back up again for another WorldSBK campaign.