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Suzuki looking positively at Australian test

Suzuki looking positively at Australian test

Although Rizla Suzuki didn't achieve the heady heights of their timesheet-topping performance in Sepang at Phillip Island this week, the team are still looking positively at the outcome of the Australian visit.

Although Rizla Suzuki didn't achieve the heady heights of their timesheet-topping performance in Sepang at Phillip Island this week, the team are still looking positively at the outcome of the Australian visit.

Chris Vermeulen shaved nearly two seconds off his lap-times over the three days and completed his fastest ever lap of the circuit, with a 1'30.30, during his 79 laps today. The Australian star was returning to Phillip Island for the first time since last year's wet race and set about the task of improving the new GSV-R800 to make it competitive in dry conditions at the 4.4km track.

Vermeulen worked tirelessly with his crew throughout the test and completed a total of 207 laps. They tested many new chassis settings and refined the engine mapping to make the bike more rideable for the difficult and demanding Australian circuit. By the end of the third day Vermeulen and his Crew Chief Tom O'Kane were only making detailed changes to the bike and they are sure they will be in a much stronger position when the team return for round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship in October.

"When we first got here on Tuesday we struggled quite a bit, but we had expected to really. We had a similar problem to that which we had at last year's race weekend here and the bike was quite hard to ride without spinning the tyre – that obviously affected the durability. We worked a lot on that, both with chassis settings and engine mapping over the week and it got a lot better as time went on. I improved my average lap time by about one and a half seconds over the three days and that is quite a big step! We have still got quite a long way to go around here but the progress we have made at Phillip Island will hopefully help us at other circuits and make the bike work even better," commented Vermeulen after the three days in his homeland.

The ever-improving Australian star also tested a brand new heart-rate monitor system supplied to the team by Garmin. This enables Team Physio Dean Miller to track Vermeulen by GPS and record his physical performance while out on circuit.

John Hopkins was pleased with the test but frustrated with his end result, and believes he can find more from the GSV-R when the team return to race. He clocked up 55 laps today and recorded his quickest ever lap of the circuit with a time of 1'30.60. His team worked thoroughly throughout the test and managed to make many improvements that will assist the GSV-R to also perform at a higher level elsewhere. He conducted similar tests to Vermeulen, as he too set about the job of making the new bike fully competitive at all circuits.

The Anglo-American racer completed 191 laps in total as he worked on getting the consistency and durability of both machine and Bridgestone tyres right for the track. His comprehensive testing schedule highlighted many issues for which Hopkins and his team were able to work on and find solutions.

"Basically we have done a lot of laps, and although we found a lot of positives we didn't end up getting exactly what we wanted from here," analysed Hopkins. We sorted out some of the engine mapping and power delivery issues, but this test has been a bit of a reality check. We did struggle over the three days and it showed we still have a bit of work to do on the bike before we come back here for the race in October. I still have some things to sort out with my own riding round here as well, and they can't be fixed overnight – I also have to improve at Phillip Island, not just the bike. I am now really looking forward to getting out in the desert in Qatar, we had a good 990 set-up for there and the bike usually feels good. I'm certainly looking forward to riding the new 800 there and getting back to the sharp end of the timesheets!"

"This test was always going to be an interesting one for the team, with a clear objective of further developing and improving the new Rizla Suzuki GSV-R800. We have achieved a lot and gathered good information about the bike that we can work on over the coming months, to make us competitive for when we return here later in the year," commented Team Manager Paul Denning. "Overall this has been a very important test – much more so than Sepang – because it has shown us where we need to concentrate our efforts and what has to be done to get the best out of the GSV-R800."

MotoGP, 2007

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