Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Randy de Puniet and Alex Lowes completed another full-day of testing at Jerez in Spain today with second-and-third fastest times in the FIM Superbike World Championship class following the third-day of testing.
De Puniet - feeling confident on his newly-acquired Suzuki GSX-R - recorded 74 laps of the Andalucian track, setting his quickest time on a Pirelli qualifying tyre – a 1’41.296 – on his 54th revolution. He continued to evaluate the new 2015 engine-spec late into the afternoon before the rain called halt on proceedings; the Frenchman concluding the day content with the progress made.
Lowes, who was disrupted by a red-flag as he left pit-lane on a qualifier, set his fastest time of 1’41.321 - on his 63rd of 68 laps – which was enough to claim the third-fastest of the day. Working on race-rubber for the entire duration - including a full race-simulation and a number of practice-starts - the British racer was pleased with his Yoshimura-powered machine’s development over the past two-days having found a setting that allows him to improve the lap-time on new tyres.
Spanish sun soon broke-through early-morning fog to leave largely-cool-but-bright conditions for the majority of the day. But rain returned with less-than 10-minutes to go; having allowed the Suzuki racers to work-through a full-programme as the development of their respective GSX-R machines continued.
Weather looks ominous for the remainder of the week, so Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will decide overnight whether to return for its final day of testing at 10:00hrs local time (09:00GMT) tomorrow.
Randy de Puniet:
“It was a very good day! We had a full day’s testing which was very interesting and in my situation I needed a day like that. We worked very well and I’m feeling more-and-more comfortable on the bike and I think we have done a great job with the few laps and the three day’s that we have had. We are becoming more comfortable as a team and working together and I have a good feeling and am starting to enjoy riding the bike. It’s a great start, my team-mate is also doing a good job, which is great, as we can work together to be very strong for the first race.
"We can see we are near the top of the timesheets and this is important, even if it is only the winter tests, and it is good to finish the year like this. I hope the weather will be good for tomorrow, but in the wet conditions on the first day, my feeling was very good too, so if the test finishes tonight, for me it’s fine and we will see what happens next year.”
“Today was good on race tyres, set-up and understanding the bike. We worked a lot on old tyres and got more out of the day race-wise than yesterday; we didn’t use a qualifier, we just concentrated on race-tyres and hopefully, fingers-crossed, it will help us by the time we get to Australia. We are testing, so some things didn’t work, some did, and we are slowly finding a new base-setting for the bike which is different than I had last year and I think it’s in the right direction. We are working hard and thinking about the races and hopefully I’ll be in a better position come Phillip Island.”
Paul Denning- Team Manager:
“Another positive day’s work here in Jerez with good track conditions all day apart from the early-morning mist. Randy’s third day on the Crescent GSX-R has seen him look more-comfortable and more aggressive lap-by-lap and his understanding of the bike and Pirelli tyres is improving all the time. He has never used a Pirelli qualifier before, so he used a couple of those and took big steps forward in lap-times; and then when returning to the race-tyre his pace was immediately better than before, and also very consistent.
“Today was Randy’s first on the 2015 engine-spec and, as Alex had reported, the engine character is an improvement and with some more refinements on the power-delivery settings, it can be better again.
“Alex had another stellar day, including a full-race simulation early-on, and despite running into a few technical delays during the day - which is often the case in testing - as soon as the right setting for him to push hard was in the bike, the pace on race-tyres was shockingly fast and a lot-more consistent than we saw here last winter or over the course of the race weekend.
“With the rain that has now arrived it looks like our dry-testing is over. We will decide tonight whether to run any wet-testing tomorrow, but for the moment we can only summarise that it has been a good start to 2015.”
Unofficial Times - Jerez - Day 3 Test: 1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) 1’40.738: 2. Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 1’41.296: 3. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 1’41.321: 4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’41.335: 5. Michael Van Der Mark (Honda) 1’41.437.