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All new Suzuki GSV-R making swift progress

All new Suzuki GSV-R making swift progress

All new Suzuki GSV-R making swift progress

Team Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts Jr. and John Hopkins concluded three incident-free days of testing at the Spanish GP circuit of Jerez after the official unveiling of the all-new 2003 GSV-R Suzuki racer. The new GSV-R, code-named XRE1, uses last year´s first four-stroke prototype as a basis, but with sweeping changes from front to rear. The new machine retains the DOHC 990cc V4 format, but with major revisions to the fuel-injected unit, including a wider 65-degree Vee angle (from 60 degrees). The chassis is also considerably changed, clothed in minimalist carbon-fibre bodywork with a sophisticated aerodynamic profile to the nose.

It was only the third test for the radically changed V4 990cc racer, marking the halfway point of the six-test schedule that started in January, when the factory surprised the team with the all-new machine. Engine and chassis have both been significantly changed compared with last year´s first GSV-R, as the design evolves towards the goal of winning races again for the factory that claimed the premier-class World Championship in 2000.

$$$ Roberts improved on his best race lap time set at Jerez last season, in spite of unfavourably cool and windy conditions, although he insisted the team still have a long way to go. `We have worked hard here, when the weather allowed it,´ said the former World Champion. `I can´t say I´m happy with the lap time. We need to get the base settings right before we can start to use the bike to its full, and we need the factory to help us. We have more tests and more parts coming. The bike has the potential. We need to unlock it, and we´re all determined to do that.´

Hopkins ran up a total of 173 laps over the three days as he continued his adaptation to the 990cc four-stroke. `We made some steps here, but we still have many things to sort out,´ said the 19 year old. `We need to make bigger steps in the upcoming tests in order to be where we want to be for the first race. We´re concentrating on one thing at a time, and that one thing leads to another. Here my main difficulty has been that the bike doesn´t turn well. I´m losing time into the turns and in the middle of the corner.´

Suzuki will now have chance to rectify that at private tests in Valencia before rejoining the final IRTA test at Catalunya in mid-March.

MotoGP, 2003

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