Lead Red Bull Honda rider Leon Camier attempted to compete for the whole weekend at the Imola round of the Superbike World Championship but his recently broken ribs ensured that he would only manage two sessions on Friday before he had to withdraw.
His place will be taken for the rest of the weekend by Jason O’Halloran, a BSB regular for Honda. O’Halloran’s first chance to ride will be in FP3.
Camier was not sure if he could ride even shortly before the race weekend started in Italy. “I was in even two minds if I could try to ride,” said the tall Englishman. “We had scans in Andorra and then we had some more scans here and they have come back that the bones have started to heal, so there is some fixation between them. Obviously it is pretty brittle and not going to be strong, but the other problem is that I struggle to breathe properly. I cannot take a deep breath in and I come in like I have just run a kilometre in eight seconds! I have nothing.”
He continued, “They said that from a stability point of view it is not dangerous for me to ride. If I crash who knows, it is what it is again. The lung is OK. There is a little spec of something on the lung, but that could still be bruising from the crash. There is nothing, I guess, really dangerous with me riding, but I do not feel I can ride good enough and I do not feel safe enough to not put anyone else in danger, or myself, so I do not want to risk it.”
It has only been four weeks since Camier suffered his injury in Motorland Aragon, and it was more serious than the original diagnosis of three broken ribs. “It was five ribs broken in the end; properly snapped. It is ribs two and four on my chest and, I think, nine, ten and 11 on my back. All on the left side.”
Camier survived a fall in the first session today. “I am not strong enough to ride properly. I am making mistakes and I had a crash this morning. I just lost the front over a little kerb. I was pushing and the lap time was not too bad – which was the annoying thing. I sent it into the right a little bit fast. Things like changing direction I do not have the strength or ability to hold on as I change in and I just bounced over that kerb. It was my mistake really. Not much I could do about it.”
The concern now is to ensure that he is fit enough to race at his home round, Donington Park, in two weeks’ time.
“I think it is going to be quite difficult to be good there, to be honest, but we’ll see. I will try. Imola is probably the worst track on the calendar for it. The braking here is ridiculous. It is the hardest physical braking, turning, track that could not be any worse for this problem. Donington is probably not the best, with a couple of corners that are really hard, but I have to try. If I do not try then I do not know. It could be the case that if I try there and after the second or third session I realise I cannot do any more, then… the lap time I was on this morning in sector two was OK but It is just that last bit when you are pushing I need the strength.”
By Gordon Ritchie