Positive Test for Team Suzuki MotoGP

2006-01-27 02:16
Team SUZUKI MotoGP had a frustrating third and final day of the first MotoGP test of 2006 but has positive results to take forward into the new season.

John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen - who were joined at Sepang in Malaysia by test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi - were testing the all-new Suzuki 'XRE4' GSV-R prototype race bike for the first time and all three Suzuki racers showed a noticeable improvement over the test.

Hopkins' best time during the test - on normal race tyres - was 2'02.40, which was more than a second faster than his best 2005 race lap. The hard charging Anglo-American pushed the new GSV-R to its limits throughout the test, and, although he was unable to complete any meaningful testing on the third day - due to an electrical control fault - he was able to give his crew invaluable feedback as they seek to get him the best racing package possible.

Vermeulen bettered his times during the test and was able to complete 75 laps on day three. His best time of 2'02.30 was a massive four seconds quicker than his time from day one.

Akiyoshi recorded a quickest time of 2'03.00 as he gave the GSV-R a thorough chassis evaluation to assist the team in getting as much data for the new bike as possible.

Team SUZUKI MotoGP will next be in action at Doha in Qatar on Sunday 5th February for a further three-day test.

The 2006 MotoGP World Championship begins at Jerez in Spain on Sunday March 26th.

John Hopkins:

"I am obviously frustrated after what happened today. I really don't like sitting in the garage and watching all my competitors go quicker and quicker. I feel like I now have a bit of catching up to do but I am certainly ready for that. But, despite the teething problems, I still managed to go quicker at this test than I did last year and the bike showed good potential. If I can lap at those speeds with one hand tied behind my back, things will really pick up once this new bike is fully refined. I feel I've improved myself in terms of fitness, riding technique and mental strength. All the crew worked really hard - especially today - and we are leaving Sepang with a very positive feeling because we know what the bike, the team and I am capable of this year."

Chris Vermeulen:

"It was great to have the new bike here to test. Over the three days we lost a bit of time due to various little things but today I really got a chance for a long run on the GSV-R. It felt great to be out there on track again with all the other riders and I was able to learn a lot from them about how to ride a GP bike. I was pleased with my times as this is only the third test I've done and I got down to the low 2'02s. I know I can go a bit quicker but I also now that races aren't won or lost at the first test of the season. There's a lot more to come from me and from the bike so I am very satisfied with how things are going."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"To say that the test was frustrating would be an understatement. The new GSV-R is very innovative in a number of areas and has shown huge potential during the factory's winter development programme, so certainly the bike is very capable of massively improved results. We did suffer a number of niggling issues here that we were unable to fully resolve at the track, but Suzuki is fully committed to quickly solving these issues.

"We were very pleased with the attitude and performance of both riders: John had to sit out most of today but he was very committed to helping his technicians find a solution. When he was out on the track, he comfortably posted times in the mid 2'02s on race tyres and if he'd had a solid final day, there is no question that his final best lap time would have been extremely competitive.

"Chris impresses me every time he goes out. He is still very much in the learning stage, but his feedback and improvements are great and he has immediately become an integral part of the team. Akiyoshi san worked tirelessly for us throughout the whole test and the extra information that he has supplied will prove invaluable. He also managed to post some very competitive times and we are grateful for his help this week.

"We now move on to Qatar for the next test knowing that the basic package of the GSV-R is massively improved and the team cannot wait to move onto the next stage in the development of the bike."

Source:Team Suzuki Press Office

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