March 19, 2005
Team SUZUKI MotoGP racers John Hopkins and Kenny Roberts Jr. found extra pace from their GSV-Rs in today's second day of official testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain, helping them both to move into the top 10 fastest lap times.
The Suzuki GSV-R was over 10kmh faster along the start-finish straight compared to the race in 2004, marking significant progress in the performance and development of Suzuki's Grand Prix prototype.
John Hopkins took more than 1.5 seconds off his lap time from yesterday, recording an impressive 1min 43.250 on Bridgestone development race tyres. He completed 77 laps in the eight-hour long test session, setting consecutively fast times before finishing under a second behind the day's quickest lap - attained with the use of a qualifying tyre and set by Max Biaggi.
Roberts Jr. improved his time from yesterday with a 1min 43.563 lap, which was three-quarters-of-a-second faster than yesterday. He spent most of his 55 laps on track testing new front and rear compound Bridgestone tyres.
Team SUZUKI MotoGP will continue with its testing programme during Sunday morning's practice before the officially timed test session in the afternoon when the fastest rider will win a new car.
"I'm ecstatic with today's test. This is the best I've felt since qualifying second at Motegi last year. The GSV-R is coming good and although we spent time going in the wrong direction with our settings, we changed that and everything worked out for the best.
"I did five consecutive laps in the 43's and the best bit is I know that I can go quicker."
Kenny Roberts Jr.:
"My team worked really hard today to find me the grip and durability I wanted from my race tyres. We now have an idea of what is available and will use tomorrow's testing to further improve on the overall set-up of the GSV-R."
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"I was impressed to see John going so well during today's test. He did a great job with 77 laps completed, and to have both riders move up into the top 10 is also very pleasing. Kenny was consistently on a good pace and found a better balance at the end of the session. This has been yet another positive day for us and we have made more steps forward.
"Bridgestone has worked really well with us on a circuit that isn't particularly favouring our tyres at this point. We are all working hard and progressing together."
Saturday MotoGP Test-Free Practice classification: 1.Max Biaggi (Honda) 1'42.260: 2.Alex Barros (Honda) 1'42.506: 3.Sete Gibernau (Honda) 1'42.796: 4.Marco Melandri (Honda) 1'42.926: 5.Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1'42.953: 6.Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1'43.129: 7.Makoto Tamada (Honda) 1'43.207: 8.JOHN HOPKINS (TEAM SUZUKI MOTOGP) 1'43.250: 9.Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1'43.291: 10. KENNY ROBERTS JR (TEAM SUZUKI MOTOGP) 1'43.563.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office