The new-look Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe team of Harri Kullas and Petar Petrov placed fifth and ninth overall in the MX2 class at the Valence International season opener in France today against an entry list that featured many of their Grand Prix rivals for 2012.
For the Finn and the Bulgarian it was their first serious outing on the factory-backed RM-Z250 machine and the French meeting provided an ideal opportunity for more tests and some initial track time for the youngsters to gauge the level of their 2012 preparation so far.
Kullas had some bad luck with starts: His gate did not fall completely at the launch of the first moto, he was buried deep in the pack rounding the first corner of the second; and then made an error that instigated another busy race during the Super Final.
"Not a bad day," he said. "It was good to get the first one out of the way. We worked on the bike on Saturday with the suspension settings and in the end I had a really good feeling so I was happy for that. Overall it was a hard track for me. It was stony and very slippery and I basically had a day of overtaking because of things that happened to me in each moto. We go to Hawkstone next and there is still a long time before the first GP."
Petrov had a decent day with two steady rides to a brace of two top-10 finishes with ninth and seventh.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe will now focus on the Hawkstone Park International and a race through the dark Shropshire sand of England next weekend.