Bike: Rizla Suzuki completes ...

successful final 2008 test

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has rounded off 2008 with a successful three-day test at Phillip Island in Australia.

Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen recorded over 450 laps of the 4,448m Australian circuit between them over the three days, as the two conducted exhaustive tests on the Suzuki Factory’s prototype parts for the 2009 GSV-R.

Good weather at Phillip Island for the majority of the test enabled both riders to get through a significant workload as they evaluated everything from new front forks to rear swinging arms, new chassis’, rear suspension parts and aerodynamic upgrades. Capirossi and Vermeulen then both conducted two race simulation runs each on the final day. This allowed them to compare the 2008 Phillip Island race tyre and the proposed new single spec tyre that all riders will be using in 2009. The data that the two Suzuki factory racers collected will be invaluable to Bridgestone as it refines the tyre for next year’s championship.

Capirossi and Vermeulen were able to concentrate on testing new parts and engine strategies at this private test rather than having the pressure of going for outright fastest laps and being compared to other riders on-track. Despite windier conditions and a slightly less grippy track than the GP weekend, Capirossi’s best time was 1’30.9 – slightly better than his fastest lap from this year’s Grand Prix - with team-mate Vermeulen clocking 1’31.1 – also an improvement on his race best.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now faces the enforced test ban which will keep the bikes and riders off track until the end of next January, but the work won’t stop for Suzuki’s racing department as it uses the information collected at the previous two tests – plus the wind tunnel data – to make sure that the 2009 Suzuki GSV-R is the best and most competitive it can be in readiness for next year’s tests and for the first GP of the year, scheduled to be at Doha in Qatar on Sunday 12th April.

Loris Capirossi:

“I really enjoyed the test because we tried a lot of things and were able to get through lots of testing, which produced very clear and positive results. We compared many things, tested two new chassis’ and lots of new parts - we now understand much better how they work together. Today we were able to compare the old and new bikes and the 2009 prototype is definitely better, especially when the tyre is worn we can maintain a better lap-time, so this is a good step. We still have some work to do – especially to improve the engine still further – but it has been a really positive three days for us. I did more than 200 laps and it has been a really good test. The prototype bike is already better than the recent one, but the next version we get to try should be even better because that will have lots of new developments and we will be able to use all the information from this test to improve it even further.”

Chris Vermeulen:

“It was a good test and I think I managed to get almost 250 laps done in the three days, which is about 1,100kms on the bike! We had a lot of new parts from Suzuki to try including, front forks, rear linkages, new frames and swinging arms and we also tested some control tyres from Bridgestone - which look like they will be the spec tyre for next year - and they worked pretty well with the bike straight away. We also tested the new engine spec that we had at the Valencia test and that worked pretty well – but I want more steps in the same direction!

"We also had some electronic modifications and with all this we were able to find some good improvements and we were consistently quicker around here than we were in the race. We have definitely taken a step forward with the bike and we certainly have a direction with all the parts that we tested here to make significant improvements in next year’s tests. I am really looking forward to the first test of next year and being able to use the new stuff that Suzuki will be able to develop from the results we have had here.”

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