The SUZUKI MotoGP team continued to improve with the newly-refined GSX-RR in the opening day of testing at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today with riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales setting fourth and ninth-placed positions on the timesheets.
Espargaro completed a total of 50 laps in mixed weather and track conditions, setting a time of 2:01.055 on his 17th attempt with hot weather conditions, while Viñales posted a 2:01.317 on his 22nd of 39 laps of the 5.543 km circuit.
With air temperatures of 32° and track temperatures reaching 53°, today’s conditions were more slippery compared to the opening test at the beginning of the month and got worse by the end of the afternoon with some scattered rain showers.
However, the team and riders worked through several new modifications on the GSX-RR that included a redesigned fairing, developed at Suzuki’s wind tunnel in Japan, and improved overall power output without affecting affordability.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“It has been a good day for us because we made further improvements. The riders feel confident on the bike and we were able to upgrade and improve the engine power. At the previous tests we decided to cut the power in order to gain reliability, now we are reintroducing some more power but with a step-by-step approach.
“Last week in the wind tunnel in Japan we developed a new fairing that has been tested today. It didn’t give the results we were expecting so we will further-refine its shape.
“It is only the first day of testing but being so close to the top always gives a good feeling. It has also been interesting to test in wet conditions and both riders reported positive feelings. Aleix already has experience in riding a MotoGP machine in the rain so he could give us good feedback, while Maverick had the chance to have a first touch with the bike response. They both felt confident with their machines also in these conditions.”
“It has been a positive day of testing because we made some improvements. The track was more slippery and dirty today so I had to get back the confidence, but I have very good feelings. We are working on the performance improvement but working little-by-little, so I was a little surprised by the speed and power that the bike had today.
“I also had the chance to test the bike in wet conditions and I feel very comfortable: it is small and easy to handle so I feel confident. Tomorrow morning we will try some set-up modifications and in the afternoon we will work on the pace; since it is maybe more important than the single lap.”
“I continue having good feelings about the bike and my objective is to ride as much as possible as I have to learn how it behaves and also the lines to be kept on track. I’m in the middle of my learning process so we haven’t been making major modifications on the machine; it’s more a matter to adapt my riding style. I also had the chance to try how it behaves in wet conditions and I had good feelings.”
Sepang 2 Test Results (Day 1): 1 Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2:00.414, 2 Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:00.543, 3 Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 2:00.876, 4 Aleix Espargaro (SUZUKI MotoGP) 2:01.055, 5 Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:01.162, 6 Marc Marquez (Honda) 2:01.190, 7 Carl Crutchlow (Honda) 2:01.222, 8 Bradley Smith (Yamaha), 9 Maverick Viñales (SUZUKI MotoGP) 2:01.317, 10 Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2:01.355.