Successful Sepang test for Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has completed its second 2008 pre-season test at Sepang in Malaysia today with satisfying results that Suzuki and the team believes it can build upon in the coming months.
Chris Vermeulen was able to give the 2008 prototype Suzuki GSV-R a comprehensive test at the 5.5km Malaysian circuit to assess what improvements and developments are needed in readiness for an assault on next year's championship. He was regularly amongst the fastest riders on race tyres throughout the test and even a small crash at the end of the third day did not dampen his enthusiasm for the new bike. Vermeulen carried out in-depth evaluations of the 2008 machine and conducted a long distance run on the final afternoon in the searing Sepang heat, as track temperatures reached 55C.
New Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi, in only his second outing for the Japanese factory, was able to get onboard the 2008 bike for the first time at Sepang this week. He began the three-day test with a thorough appraisal of the 2007 machine to enable him to totally understand the workings of the GSV-R, before changing to next year's model on day two. Although almost a third of the test was lost to bad weather, Capirossi soon got to grips with the new bike and was consistently lapping faster than he had done on this year's machine.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will now assess all the data obtained from this test back at the factory, before it moves on to Australia, back to Malaysia, Australia again ,Spain and finally Qatar for more pre-season tests in preparation for the 2008 MotoGP World Championship that gets underway at Doha in Qatar next March.
"It's been a great three-day test here in Sepang. We started out with the 2007 bike with the same settings that I had for the race and then we transferred them to the new prototype '08 bike. It was definitely a step forward, and speaking with Loris he had similar comments -- so that was great. We tested a lot of things here including engine maps, traction control, chassis set-up, new Ohlins suspension and of course lots of tyre testing for Bridgestone. It has been a very busy few days but I am extremely happy with the progress that we have made. Today we concentrated on a longer run and I did the furthest distance at about two o'clock in the afternoon when the track was at its hottest -- like it would be on race day -- and the bike performed really well and we were quicker than we were in the race. So all-in-all it's been a very good test for us!"
"I am quite happy after this test. We did a lot of laps and my feeling for the bike is getting better every time I ride it. We tested a lot of different things so I can get an understanding of the bike and the team will be able to know what I want to make sure I can go quicker. Every time we went out we tried something different with the settings, and the mapping of the bike and at the end of the last day we found something that was a really good improvement, but we didn't have enough time to work on it. The whole test has been very positive and I am impressed with how everything is going. We will keep working hard through the winter and I am looking forward to the next tests and making more steps forward -- I am enjoying my work, it's fun!"
Paul Denning -- Team Manager:
"It has been a good three days for both guys. We got through an enormous amount of work and have certainly made significant advances with the 2008 prototype GSV-R.
"Chris was quick and consistent on race tyres throughout the test and he did a long run today, in very high heat and humidity, that was well inside his race-lap times here so that shows the new bike is going in the right direction.
"It was good to see Loris on the '08 machine and his feedback and comments were almost identical to Chris's, so the guys back at Suzuki will now have an indication on where we need to improve things.
"We still have a long way to go before the start of next season, but these first two tests have been very positive and we need to keep heading forward so that we are as strong as we can be when the first race gets underway at Qatar next year!"