ROBERTS SMASHES LAP RECORD!2005-02-13 01:57
February 13, 2005.
Kenny Roberts Jr. smashed World Champion Valentino Rossi's lap record while testing the new 2005 Suzuki GSV-R race bike at Sepang in Malaysia yesterday.
He lapped the 5.5km track in a time of 2:02.07 seconds on race tyres, which is over a second inside the current lap record, held by the Italian rider.
The team put the Suzuki GSV-R through many gruelling tests at the hot and humid circuit.
All aspects of the bike were scrutinised to give the technicians and riders more valuable data about the machine's performance and handling capabilities.
New engine mapping and control systems were tested along with the latest front and rear tyre compounds from Bridgestone.
Roberts and team mate John Hopkins were both positive about the progress made since visiting the circuit last month.
Said Roberts: "The guys are working really hard to get the GSV-R at the top of its game: The bike has a lot of potential and it's certainly capable of a good lap time. The target now is to make it capable of those lap times over a race distance. The good news is that Suzuki knows exactly what it has to do to achieve just that."
Hopkins clocked a time of 2:02.19 seconds, which was 2.5 seconds quicker than his race lap time at Sepang last year.
He said: "The GSV-R is coming along great and so am I. Every time I ride, I feel fitter and the bike has so much more potential. We've done a lot of laps over the last few days and now we have a very clear direction which way we need to go to make the GSV-R even better."
Team SUZUKI MotoGP manager Paul Denning said: "These Sepang tests have given very satisfying results and are helping the team to establish a firm and positive baseline to take forward into the new season. I am especially pleased with the way the crew are coming together and the feedback from the riders and the technicians.
"The support from Bridgestone this week has been fantastic. The high humidity and heat meant that the tyres were subjected to a very torrid test, which Bridgestone responded to excellently.
"We are all looking forward to the next step in the development of the GSV-R and our aim is to get it as competitive as possible for the first round at Jerez in April. We need to refine the overall package and concentrate especially on the driveability and acceleration of the bike.
"Suzuki knows what it needs to do to take the next step. The riders are both very capable and there is a real sense of excitement within Team SUZUKI MotoGP."
Team SUZUKI MotoGP travels to Phillip Island in Australia for the third leg of its test schedule on February 17th - 19th before heading to Europe for the official MotoGP tests in March.
The new MotoGP season begins at Jerez in Spain on April 10th.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office
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