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Garry Taylor gives his first impressions of the Suzuki XREO

Garry Taylor gives his first impressions of the Suzuki XREO

Garry Taylor gives his first impressions of the Suzuki XREO

There were few moments last year when Telefonica Movistar Suzuki's affable manager, Garry Taylor, could get excited by the performance of his team's bike. With just two podium finishes, including one victory, the Suzuki RGV500 was unable to follow up on its championship winning season with any conviction. This winter however, has seen Taylor given the opportunity to smile once again, with Suzuki having brought forward the launch of its four-stroke machine. Now the Englishman and his team can at least begin in the MotoGP category with a bike made for the future.

The Suzuki factory team are currently in their first full tests at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, and Taylor couldn't hide his delight with the new machine, 'It sounds great, doesn't it?!' he grinned. 'It's a good looking bike, and there's been a lot of time and effort gone into it.' Taylor remains nevertheless realistic about the stage of the project they are in, adding, 'It's very early stages yet though, and we're not here really trying to do times, it is still very much a 'shake-down' test'

The team is going to have to change its way of working in comparison to the two-stroke bikes, as he makes clear, 'The difference for us is that we won't really be pulling the engines apart any more, that will all be done by Japanese engineers rather than the crew. Which is a good thing, because that allows us more working time to concentrate on the cycle part of the bike. Aside from that, there's a lot of work to be done on engine-mapping and that type of thing, but again, that'll be done by our Japanese colleagues. So hopefully, as much as possible, it'll be racing as normal.'

Taylor was optimistic about the bike's promise, 'I think it's a good bike now, but I also think that there needs to be a lot of work to get it competitive. Nevertheless, it can be a great bike and I'm sure we can do well on it; the riders like it anyway. Like I said though, we have many things to do between now and the start of the season, and that's okay by us.'

Today in Sepang Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau continued working on the basic set-ups of their machines, which need to be completed before they can really get stuck in to the fine-tuning of the XREO. They were once again joined on track by Suzuki's Japanese riders Ryo and Kagayama, as well as Yanagawa and Shimizu, who continued their work testing materials for Kawasaki's four-stroke project.

500cc, 2001

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