Motorcycling: Camier on course for higher honours

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The Independent Online

"My ambition is to return to MotoGP," Camier admitted yesterday. "Here I'm learning everything I can. But what I really want is to compete in grand prix racing with a team that can give me a great bike and a great setup." It's a mantra repeated by every half-successful young rider. But Camier is already proving that he has special talent: he's leading the Supersport championship in the British Superbike series, and has already won four races this season on his Honda CBR600.

And he has the support of his team manager, Clive Padgett, in his drive to the top.

"I believe we'll see him in MotoGP," Padgett said. "At the moment he's on a high, so we have to keep him settled so that he win the Supersport title." Padgett knows star material, for in 46 years of running racing teams his family has provided bikes for riders such as sixties' legends Mike Hailwood and Phil Read, and the reigning British Superbike champion John Reynolds.

Although he is still only 19, Camier has already sampled the grand prix circuits ridden by Rossi, the six-times world champion. In 2003, when he was only 16, he did half a season in the 125cc support class before his parents ran out of money.

The Padgett team rescued him, and he finished sixth in last year's British Supersport series. "He was ragged and untidy," Padgett said. "He wanted to achieve so much, but he was trying too hard. Now we've instilled in him that he must be much more of a thinking rider."

Camier admitted:"I might have been real quick, but I was also out of control. What's the point of being two seconds a lap faster than anyone else if you're at risk of crashing all the time?

Camier is only 16 points ahead of Northpoint Honda's Craig Jones in the Supersport chase. But if he can clinch the title, Padgett will seek sponsors and attempt to take Camier to the World Supersport Championship next year. "It would be foolish of Leon to change brands now," Padgett said. "But if someone offers him a better opportunity than we can, I don't mind. I just want a British lad to get to the top."