Positive tests for Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra. Troy second, despite stomach virus, Yukio sixth.
The three day Qatar tests ended with Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra upbeat and looking forward to next season. Although the team didn't have any radical revisions to this year's successful GSX-R1000, there were a host of modifications to be tried out. During the three days, Troy and Yukio tried new front forks, a new rear shock, some different brake discs and some other minor bits and pieces. But the biggest improvements were some new Pirelli tyres, with Troy particularly taking to them straightaway. Yukio did not get the same good feelings about the tyres as Troy - mainly because of his different (more aggressive riding style) but also was very happy with the progress made during the tests. Troy was quickest over the first two days and was more then ready to smash the 1:59 barrier but suffered a stomach virus which forced him to sit out the final day. His time of 1:59.17 was only beaten by Troy Bayliss (Ducati), who used qualifying rubber. Third quickest overall was Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati), with Yukio slotting into sixth at the end of the three days.
Despite missing the final day, I feel the tests have gone very well for us. We had lots to try out - nothing major - and we gathered a lot of useful data throughout. For me, the biggest improvements were the tyres. I could feel what was happening much better then before and I could lay the bike into the turn far more easily. Also, the grip was better and I was working myself and the tyre much harder! I know Bayliss went quicker on the final day (the one I had to sit out), but that was on qualifying rubber, whereas my best times were all done on race rubber.
I don't know how I got sick, but I guess it must be some strange water or maybe salad that wasn't washed properly. It's been a long, but wonderful season and I want to wish everybody a peaceful and happy holiday. I'm going to spend some time with my family and friendsover the break and then be raring to go at the next tests in the New Year.
I am not disappointed at all, because we have done a lot of good work here during the three days. We tried many things including front forks, rear suspension, new discs and other small things. This is the same bike as we've raced all year, with just some new pieces to evaluate. Troy-san was more happy then me with the new tyre, but this was probably because our riding styles are so different! The weather has been perfect these three days and so I think we have achieved a lot and we should be very happy.
I am looking forward to some rest now - back in Japan - and seeing my family again. Next year will be great fun and I am looking forward to it already.
1 Bayliss (Ducati) 1:58.66, 2 TROY CORSER (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:59.17, 3 Lanzi (Ducati) 1:59.40, 4 Muggeridge (Honda) 2:00.09, 5 Toseland (Honda) 2:00.10, 6 Kagayama (Suzuki) 2:00.38, 7 Haga (Yamaha) 2:00.46, 8 Pitt (Yamaha) 2:00.56, 9 Martin (Petronas) 2:01.80, 10 Jones (Petronas) 2:02.56,