World Superbike veteran-turned team manager Leon Camier has admitted that he lost the motivation to continue racing at the top level after a series of injuries in the last three years.
Camier, a regular fixture of the WSBK paddock since 2010, has called time on his racing career to take up the role of Honda’s team manager, returning to the marque he represented in 2018-19 following spells at Aprilia, Suzuki, BMW and MV Agusta.
While the British rider showed flashes of pace at Honda despite racing a largely uncompetitive bike, he missed several rounds in 2018 after fracturing his ribs in Aragon and was then sidelined for a large part of the following year’s campaign with shoulder injuries.
Another crash after switching to the Barni Ducati team for 2020 meant he was not declared fit for the season opener at Phillip Island, and the two parties eventually agreed to part ways without completing a single round together.
Speaking during the aborted Jerez test on his first day in a managerial role, Camier revealed that he had the option to return to the British Superbike Championship, but felt racing had “lost a little bit of meaning” after struggling for several years with recurring injuries.
“In my head, it was a difficult time,” Camier said. ”A lot of injuries, a lot of injuries. And I don’t race bikes just to earn a living, just to continue racing. I’m not interested for this.
“I want to do this if I can see the possibility to progress, to try and be in a competitive situation, to try and get to win races, to try and get to podiums. This is why I do it. And I don’t see that was possible anymore.
“With the shoulder, I feel it was easy for a lot of things to lose confidence and [if] I can physically perform. For me it wasn’t looking positive. I can go back in race in England, pretty confident I can get a good package there.
“But at the same time I felt I lost a little bit of desire, that motivation to give everything. It lost a little bit of meaning to me, the racing side of it. And I feel in this position, with this opportunity I can give all my experience and try and help in a different way to achieve the same result. To be a part of a winning team. This is where I am.”
The decision to take up Honda’s offer to replace the departing Jaume Colom as team manager brings an early end to Camier’s illustrious racing career, which included a title in BSB in 2009, and nine podiums and 223 race starts in WSBK.
Camier admitted that it wasn’t easy to hang up his helmet at the age of 34, 11 years after making his full-time WSBK debut with Aprilia, but felt the opportunity to continue in motorsport with Honda made the decision easier for him.
“To be honest it was probably the hardest decision of my life to actually decide to stop racing,” he said. “Obviously the last few years for me have not been easy with injuries, and it’s not gone the way I would have wanted.
“To actually decide to stop racing is such a big thing. My whole life has been dedicated to one thing, racing, training towards it. Everything you do in life is improving yourself and trying to perform as a racer and to actually stop that is a really big deal, bigger than I ever expected.
“But having this opportunity has helped, I think. I can focus on this. I can use my experience to try and improve. Something I can jump into quite easily. It’s quite a natural progression to this. I’m really looking forward to taking on this challenge.
“It would be a really interesting year for me. A lot to learn but at the same time I’m really excited to start.”
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