SUZUKI MAKES COMPETITIVE START TO CATALUNYA TEST

March 18, 2005

Team SUZUKI MotoGP continued its development of the GSV-R with Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins recording competitive and personal-best lap times in the first official MotoGP test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain today.

Both riders were running at the front of the timesheets early in the day, which showed just how far the GSV-R race bike has improved following recent developments and early pre-season tests.

Roberts Jr completed 43-laps during the eight-hour long test while working on front end feel and grip. He posted his fastest lap on the 4.7km track at 1min 44.282, which put him just over a second off the fastest time of the day set by Honda's Max Biaggi.

Hopkins, who crashed in the afternoon session but walked away uninjured, completed 37-laps as his crew worked on setting up his GSV-R race bike. He posted a fastest lap of 1min 44.849, which was over a second quicker than his best race time last year.

Testing continues at the Barcelona circuit tomorrow and Sunday morning with a timed session on Sunday afternoon.

Kenny Roberts Jr:

"I am looking for more front-end feel from my GSV-R and we spent most of today working on the fork and chassis settings. We have a direction and plan on how to improve this tomorrow.

"A big positive to come from today was the strength of the engine. The Suzuki is definitely up on horsepower compared to last year, and this gives us so much more potential. We're still working on a lot of developments and I'm looking forward to getting the best out of what we have"

John Hopkins:

"I'm really excited about the GSV-R and today shows how much better it is getting. I've knocked a lot of time off my fastest lap from last year.

"I tested both my bikes with different set-ups and they both showed big improvements since our last test at Phillip Island. If we keep going at this rate of development we will be challenging the front runners. That's everybody's target."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"Kenny worked on getting the set-up right for his GSV-R and I'm sure that will pay dividends for him tomorrow. John had a bit of bad luck with a small crash this afternoon but he's unhurt and is determined to improve on his times over the weekend.

"We all know that there is still a long way to go during this test but the initial feeling is very positive."

MotoGP Tests (Friday Free Practice classification): 1.Max Biaggi (Honda) 1'43.158: 2.Sete Gibernau (Honda) 1'43.254: 3.Makoto Tamada (Honda) 1'43.347: 4.Marco Melandri (Honda) 1'43.433: 5.Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1'43.518: 6.Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1'43.882: 7.Alex Barros (Honda) 1'43.902: 8.Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1'43.974: 9.Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1'44.282: 10. Kenny Roberts Jr (TEAM SUZUKI MOTOGP) 1'44.282: 17.John Hopkins (TEAM SUZUKI MOTOGP) 1'44.849.

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

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