Crescent Suzuki has concluded its pre-season testing in Spain and Portugal with Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet completing a successful four days’ work.
After the difficult conditions endured at Portimao, the two days spent at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit proved well-timed, with dry and sunny conditions allowing a detailed testing schedule for both Lowes and de Puniet’s latest-specification Suzuki GSX-R1000s.
Jerez saw the team work with suspension provider Ohlins on new front fork and rear shock settings, implement a new engine-brake strategy to improve corner-entry consistency, further evaluate the new 2015 specification Yoshimura engine and exhaust system; and work on general balance settings for braking stability and turning to discover the GSX-R’s best performance over race distance.
The test saw Lowes complete over 170 laps of the Andalucían asphalt, de Puniet totalling 140, with competitive stints set during both detailed setting and longer runs. The British racer posted the test’s second fastest lap on race tyres, a 1.41.0, and improved further to a 1.40.1 on a qualifying Pirelli to leave him sixth quickest on the sheets. His French team-mate concluded the test in ninth position overall after posting 1’40.977 – despite an earlier high-side curtailing much of his afternoon’s work - and both Suzuki racers remain eager and determined for the season ahead.
Crescent Suzuki now returns to its UK base to fine-tune preparations in readiness for the opening round of the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship in three weeks’ time. Lowes’ Crew Chief Pete Jennings and Technical Co-Ordinator Dale Meech immediately travel to Japan for a week of engine-assembly with partners Yoshimura, before joining the rest of the team at Phillip Island for the official pre-season test on Monday February 16th.
“I’m really happy with the testing over the past four days. The team is working really well and we did a good job overall with our consistency and speed. I’m working hard to improve my approach to testing and the technical development, and I think we put in a very solid, consistent performance here at Jerez. I rode a lot of laps and most importantly I enjoyed every one! I took a decent step on the qualifying tyre but it was still within the target of “no mistakes” and no risks. Huge thanks to all the boys for their efforts and I really can’t wait for Phillip Island and race one.”
Randy de Puniet:
“Portugal was not so good due to the weather conditions and I only managed 35 dry laps on the last day, it was enough to learn the track but not to be fast, but I think for the race it will be ok - it’s a nice track but not easy! Jerez was much better with two good days, until this afternoon! I had a high-side at turn one, with a strange feeling in the rear tyre after leaving the pits, so we lost time and a little confidence but we just tried to continue to work on the bike to regain the feeling. Overall the test was quite good, I just need to continue to work to adapt my riding style to the GSX-R but I think we have a good pace and with a little more improvement in Australia we will be ready to fight for a good position.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It’s been a good test. Alex worked really hard and was extremely competitive - second quickest on race tyres and a good consistent rhythm and on old tyres he was looking very strong. The GSX-R seems competitive on speed compared to last year, with extremely close lap-times between the top guys. Alex had completed 170 laps over the two-days before being the first rider to head out on a qualifying tyre. If we had hung back, taken a bit of a rest and then really tried hard, there may have been another few tenths in the bike, but the important factor was taking a step forward in the lap-time. We struggled in qualifying last year but have taken a good step forward with the pure performance potential.
“Randy had a decent test here, his best time on the race tyre was a 1’41.9, putting him in quite a competitive position. Unfortunately he had a little front-end crash at the hairpin and then suffered a high-side at the same place Guintoli crashed yesterday on the exit of turn one. The repairs set us back time-wise and Randy lost a little rhythm, but he came back to set a 1’40.9 on the qualifiers. Not a perfect test but a good steady job! When it comes to Phillip Island, we know the bike works well and Randy has a lot of experience there, so the plan is to keep the bike as consistent as we can and let the rhythm come.
“Overall a positive approach by everyone involved and brilliant preparation by the team; there is always a lot more work to do but we’re looking forward to Phillip Island.”
Jerez – Unofficial combined times: 1. Davide Guigliano (Ducati) 1’39.332: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’39.694: 3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) 1’39.745: 4. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1’40.062: 5. Leon Haslam (Aprilia) 1’40.069: 6. Alex Lowes (Crescent Suzuki) 1’40.159. 9. Randy de Puniet (Crescent Suzuki) 1.40.977.