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World Superbikes star Leon Camier writes exclusively for the KM Group

Leon Camier
Leon Camier

After my near disaster in the previous round at Misano, Italy, the new circuit at Aragon in Spain felt much better for my Alitalia-sponsored Aprilia RSV-1000.

Free practice was good and I got into the final 16 for the Superpole to determine Sunday’s grid where I qualified third – my first-ever front row start.

Marco Melandri (Yamaha) was on pole, with my team-mate, Max Biaggi, second. Series leader Carlos Checa Ducati was fourth on the grid.

Race-day weather was perfect, sunny with the air temperature at 25 degrees, and as the lights went out for the first 20-lapper, I managed to hold my third position until halfway round the first lap when Checa slipped past me. However, on lap two, Checa ran wide on one of the corners and I slipped past him.

For the next few laps, Carlos and I were constantly chopping and changing positions. As the race progressed, Checa was able to pull away on the twisty parts of the circuit and, with six laps gone, he was beginning to open up a gap. Luckily for me, he dropped his bike on the next lap, elevating me back to third.

At half distance, Melandri was a comfortable second while I was a fairly lonely third. Yet the action wasn’t finished and with five laps remaining, Biaggi ran wide at the end of the back straight, gifting Melandri the lead. My bike was responding well and I began to close on my team-mate but the gap was too much to close and I had to settle for third.

Race two got off to a good start and I was determined to improve on my first-race finish but battling with the other riders, I started to fall back as my rear tyre began to wear rapidly and grip was becoming an issue.

Biaggi was once again having an early battle with Melandri but eventually crossed the line five seconds ahead with championship leader Checa in third spot.

I finished eighth, not what I was expecting after my podium in race one, but still enough for some valuable points ahead of the next race in Brno, Czech Republic, in three weeks’ time.

I’m in fifth position in the championship with 125 points, Checa leads with 261 and Biaggi has 218.

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