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Denning explains specifics of Japanese wind tunnel test

Denning explains specifics of Japanese wind tunnel test

With Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen set to hit the wind tunnel this week, Rizla Suzuki´s Team Manager Paul Denning has explained what the team will be working on during the short test in Japan.

Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen staying in place onboard an evolving GSV-R800 next term, Rizla Suzuki´s MotoGP project is in safe hands as the calendar year draws to a close.

Both riders featured on the premier class podium this year, but not regularly enough for the team´s liking, meaning that there is still plenty of work to do this winter in preparation for the 2009 campaign.

Experienced Italian Capirossi and his Australian teammate Vermeulen finished tenth and eighth respectively in the World Championship in 2008, with Rizla Suzuki ending up fifth overall in the Teams´ classification – results which were below the expectations of Team Manager Paul Denning.

The Suzuki cause was not helped by the hand and forearm injuries which Capirossi sustained at Barcelona and Assen, but the competitiveness of their package appeared to leave the riders wanting, according to their post-race assessments on several occasions.

Priorities remain making the bike consistently competitive even when grip levels deteriorate late in races and increasing stability both on corners and in a straight line, hence the arrangement to test both in a wind tunnel this week in Japan and on an appropriately demanding track at Phillip Island next week.

As Denning told, `The first test will be at Suzuki´s race department headquarters which is just outside Hamamatsu and the wind tunnel is situated just outside the test track. Both Loris and Chris will attend and for Loris there are some new aerodynamic parts which we are interested to get some data on, with him actually sat on the bike.´

The team boss continued, `For Chris he has always been a little bit slower than Loris and previously John Hopkins down the straight and his acceleration off the corners is just as good, so we can only put that down to aerodynamics. So we are hoping not only to test some parts with Chris, but also get some tips for him to get folded around the bike a little bit better and also make the bike a bit more comfortable for him to get tucked into more.´

Revealing why the indoor test is of specific use to the Suzuki team in contrast to outdoor work, Denning declared, `We don´t do a lot of wind tunnel testing with the rider. Suzuki do an awful lot with just the machine in a full sized wind tunnel rather than a scaled down model. Aerodynamic drag was traditionally the main thing to test in that environment, but with a motorcycle at Grand Prix level you are also looking to create a certain amount of `downforce´ on corners and also make the bike easy to pitch from side to side. It is not just about straight line drag, it also about how easy handling and stable the machine is as well.´

`With the riders themselves this is the first time they have done some wind tunnel testing and it is just a question of making sure that the changes coming up reflect the data that Suzuki have already gathered in the wind tunnel, but with the riders onboard. They want to get some specific data, because one or two kilometers per hour difference on the race track is difficult to understand the source of, whether it comes from slightly better corner exit or from grip and so on.´

On the rain affected day and a half of testing which followed the end of season finale at Valencia, Denning said of the team´s findings, `Like everyone else we would have preferred two full days. We learned that we have made a very good step with engine character, controllability and acceleration, but whilst it is a good step we also saw that it is not enough in terms of where we want to be by the beginning of next season. So we have got a good base to work from but we want to take some further important steps in January and February with the motor.´

Looking ahead to next week´s test in Australia, which will also be attended by Kawasaki whilst the rest of the MotoGP field test at Jerez in southern Spain, Denning explained what Suzuki will be focused on as they wrap up the year´s on-track activities before the winter testing ban begins.

`The main thing we are looking to generate at Phillip Island is increased grip through the long, fast corners,´ stated the Englishman. `The only corner like that which we suffered on at Valencia was turn twelve, the long left hander before you come round to the final corner. Phillip Island has got three or four long accelerating corners like that so we are looking to try and put the power to the ground a lot better as a combination of both engine character and chassis changes.´

MotoGP, 2008, Chris Vermeulen, Loris Capirossi, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

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