Leon Camier on his long-term friendship with Moto GP rider Casey Stoner

I met with Leon a few years back when I was ending my time motorcycle racer and he was just starting his. He impressed me then and still impresses me know. Let’s hope there are no team orders in the Aprilia team this season, at any of the Italians rounds of WSB.

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They learned the trade together as teenagers and although their careers have taken different paths, Leon Camier and Casey Stoner continue to compete against each other.

Ashford’s World Superbike rider Camier and former Moto GP champion Stoner have come a long way since they first set foot on the motorsport ladder, but have remained close friends. Despite competing in different world championships, the pair continue to learn from each other in training sessions and are keen to resume their previous on-track battles.

The duo were reunited last month for a series of training sessions at Stoner’s home in Australia. But it was in the British 125cc Championship a decade ago when they first met, becoming firm friends and fierce track rivals. Stoner, then 16, made the trip to Britain from Australia in 2000 to launch his superbike career, while Camier was embarking on only his third season of circuit racing. Stoner won the championship that year, while Camier finished 12th overall. They locked horns the following season, with the Kent rider taking the title.

Since then, Stoner has risen through the Moto GP ranks, impressively beating Valentino Rossi to the world title in 2007 at the tender age of 21. Although Camier is yet to taste glory in the World Superbike Championship (WSB), the former British champion is hot on his friend’s heels in training and is eyeing another track meeting.

Camier said: “After the Phillip Island test last month I went up to Casey’s house with my manager Andy Walker, we have all known each other since 2000. It’s great that we are all still friends. We have been training but also having fun, but most things turn into a big competition. I’m thinking about going pro at table tennis after some of the games we played.

“It’s difficult to learn from each other as neither of us disclose detailed information about our bikes and we’re in different classes, but we can learn about training techniques. All racers want to be the best and Casey proved it in 2007. Maybe one day soon we will be in the same championship again.”

While Camier hopes to beat his friend on the track in the future, his mind is firmly fixed on his second season in the WSB with Aprilia. The campaign begins at Australia’s Phillip Island on February 27.

He said: “Every year is a big year, and I will continue to put maximum effort into every session and every race. After having a good rookie season, I would like to build on that and be a regular podium contender.”

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