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Suzuki review first day back in Grand Prix action

Suzuki review first day back in Grand Prix action

The growl of the GSX-RR was heard around the MotoGP™ pit lane for the first time in almost three years on Friday as Randy de Puniet helped reintroduce Suzuki to the highest level of Grand Prix racing. 

The opening day of the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana on Spain’s east coast marked a small milestone in Suzuki’s invigorated attempt at the premier class and its first blast at MotoGP since the final round of the 2011 season at the same venue.

The Suzuki crew worked closely with Bridgestone tyre technicians and also built on refinements made during a recent test also around the flat curves of the site a short distance from the city of Valencia.

Progress was evident with De Puniet’s quickest attempt in FP2. The veteran Frenchman set a 1’32.799 best lap and this represented a half second improvement over his quickest lap through testing. The former Grand Prix winner encountered a technical problem towards the end of the session and on his 17th lap that forced a hasty trip back to the pits and another circulation on the second GSX-RR.

Unfortunately there were only two minutes left in the timed period and he could not clock another effort to budge up from 15th place. He finally rested in 18th and only 1.3s away from World Champion Marc Marquez’s top spot in the classification. It was a dramatic but encouraging opening MotoGP foray for the factory Suzuki squad.

De Puniet said, “I’m really happy to be back at a Grand Prix. It was not so bad today. We are only 1.3s away from first position and that’s OK for our first day. I had a technical problem at the end otherwise I think I could have improved the lap time a little bit more. The conditions were great this morning but it was a bit cloudier and windier this afternoon. Still, we are in November so it is not bad! I’m satisfied. We need to make a few adjustments because I struggled with the hard rear tyre and we’ll discuss what direction we will take for the race.”

“It is hard to work so fast and with only 45 minutes to make it happen. I liked being out on the track at a race after one year and I don’t feel like I’ve missed a season; this is good and I’m ready to fight to put the bike on the best place on the grid and then in the best position during the race. We are faster here today than we were at the test and every session I feel more confident. I think if we all give the maximum then we can be happy and this is what we want.”

Davide Brivio, Team Manager, added, “Today was full of emotion. When we started the bike this morning it felt special to be back in a race environment. Today was not so bad. We had a problem at the end but we are not so far [from the fastest times]. The performance was quite good considering that we haven’t raced for a long time. To come here for the last GP – when everybody else has had so much track time and experience – is not so easy but we are doing OK. Tomorrow we have to look at our tyre choice for the race and also improve our electronic setting. We need to improve the package and find more grip. We have to rush with the stuff you would normally work on during a race weekend; we need to find that best base setting. Anyway I’m excited and we’ll continue working.”

Tags:
MotoGP, 2014, GP GENERALI DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA

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