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Difficulties for Suzuki MotoGP in their return to work

Difficulties for Suzuki MotoGP in their return to work

Difficulties for Suzuki MotoGP in their return to work

The Suzuki MotoGP team came up against some problems in the Sepang Test, which finished yesterday and was the return to work for the MotoGP teams after the winter break.

In any case, John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen, along with test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi (who focused his energies on chassis testing) showed evidence of an exciting progression throughout their first three days with the new Suzuki XRE4 GSV-R.

The American rider rode with race tyres, nearly a second faster than his best lap in last year´s Malaysian Grand Prix. However, electrical problems hampered his development. Vermeulen, for his part, was a revelation with improvements of up to four seconds on his first day times.

"I am obviously frustrated after what happened today. I really don't like sitting in the garage and watching all my competitors go quicker and quicker. I feel like I now have a bit of catching up to do but I am certainly ready for that" commented Hopkins.

"However, despite the teething problems I still managed to go quicker at this test than I did last year and the bike showed good potential. If I can lap at those speeds with one hand tied behind my back, things will really pick up once this new bike is fully refined. I feel I've improved myself in terms of fitness, riding technique and mental strength. All the crew worked really hard – especially today – and we are leaving Sepang with a very positive feeling because we know what the bike, the team and I am capable of this year."

Vermeulen, one of the most highly rated newcomers on the 2006 grid, was one of the most improved riders throughout the three sessions, finishing in tenth overall.

"It was great to have the new bike here to test. Over the three days we lost a bit of time due to various little things but today I really got a chance for a long run on the GSV-R. It felt great to be out there on track again with all the other riders and I was able to learn a lot from them about how to ride a GP bike" commented Vermeulen, before adding:

"I was pleased with my times as this is only the third test I've done and I got down to the low 2'02s. I know I can go a bit quicker but I also know that races aren't won or lost at the first test of the season. There's a lot more to come from me and from the bike, so I am very satisfied with how things are going."

Suzuki MotoGP will return to the track on February 5th, carrying out a new three day testing stint in Qatar.

MotoGP, 2006

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