Team Suzuki Ecstar has been busy the last three days on the Spanish circuit at Jerez de la Frontera with an intense session of private testing that saw Andrea Iannone, Alex Rins, and Sylvain Guintoli working hard for the 2018 season.
The main objective was to test many items on the machines that will guide the future development of the 2018 configuration. This week´s work will give the engineers feedback for the winter and finalise an ideal configuration of the machine for the next test in Sepang.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“Overall I’m satisfied with this test. It has been three very intense days with a lot of work. Both the MotoGP riders, Andrea and Alex, and with the help of Sylvain were able to do many laps and allow us to collect important information. We brought here many items, but they were not completely new. They were all pieces that we had already tried in the past, one by one. Here in Jerez we needed to confirm their efficacy with some more intense testing and make comparisons, and also check the different combinations between individual pieces. It was crucial for us to determine the direction we have to take during the winter, so that we might define the best combination to compose the 2018 machine that we will bring to Sepang. It will be important to start on the right foot: next year we will have the concessions that will allow us to do more testing than others, but the calendar is very busy with one more race in Thailand. So honestly, I’m not sure we will be able to make much use of the concessions, finding more dates for testing in this tight schedule.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“Here in Jerez we continued the work we had already started in Valencia last week. We again tested the new specs of the engine, which has a little more power, but also still proved to be as smooth as is per the Suzuki philosophy. This actually made the riders pretty happy. It’s not a huge step, but it is rideable, yet more powerful. Also, we double checked the improved chassis we tried out last week to draw comparisons and do back-to-back testing. Of course we also continued with the electronics, which is a process in which you never get to be completely satisfied. As usual we’ve worked on the traction control and engine braking configurations. This test gave us a lot of information and a clear idea about which direction to move for the finalisation of the machine that will arrive in Sepang at the end of January.”
“This test was very intense because we wanted to try so many things, and overall I feel tired, but satisfied. First of all, we focused on the feeling, the new chassis, and different setups. Overall I can feel the many improvements. I was effective on the single lap time attack, but also very fast in the pace. One of the areas we wanted to improve was the consistency of performance from new to worn tyres, which means being able to keep competitive for the ideal time of a race. Then we had the engine with new specs, and we were able to do many laps in order to make a proper comparison. The feeling has improved. I was not expecting such a big step forward and I’m positively impressed. Anyway, we have to keep our feet on the ground and continue working. It’s good to have taken these steps, but we still have areas where we can improve, and that will be the task for the winter.”
“The test was positive because we were able to try many different things and deliver important information to the engineers so that they are able to finalise the 2018 GSX-RR. We tested some parts again that we had previously tried in Valencia, and also Aragon, because we needed to confirm the data. The items proved to be effective and my feeling with the bike overall has improved. I feel I can be more confident in riding, which translates to an improvement in the lap time. I was impressed by the pace with the evolution chassis. We are not changing the nature of the bike; we are working on consistency, but improving the areas we feel are weak.”
“It´s been a very good test for us here in Jerez. It felt great to be back in MotoGP mode and Michelin tyres mode again. We worked really hard to test many items, and in the end we managed to collect important feedback. It was also nice to share the comments with Andrea and Alex, and see how the GSX-RR has improved and could further be improved. The feeling at the end was great.”