Rizla Suzuki takes big steps on final test day in Qatar
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has ended its final pre-season test session in positive spirits following a successful final night in Qatar.
Loris Capirossi shook off the sickness he suffered yesterday to put in a strong performance
and take fifth place on the night. He recorded a quickest time of 1'56.195 from his 58 laps of the Losail circuit and had no reoccurrence of the ailment that caused him to end the test early on Thursday evening. Capirossi did a thorough evaluation of the new spec higher durability GSV-R engine, as well as testing a new chassis and various other new specification parts. His valuable data will now be analysed back in Japan to prepare the bike for the first round of the season early next month.
New-signing Alvaro Bautista made a huge improvement during the second part of the two-day night-test in Qatar by taking over a second off his previous night's time. He covered the 5,380m lap of the Losail International Circuit a total of 71 times this evening and made advances to his performance and control on a MotoGP machine ahead of his race debut this coming April. Bautista's best time from the session of 1'56.898 was good enough to give him 12th overall from the two-day test.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will be back In Qatar in three weeks time for the first round of the MotoGP Championship, which will be held under floodlights on the night of Sunday 11th April.
"It has been quite positive today and we have improved quite a lot from Thursday. During yesterday's test I was so bad that I was quite sick, but today I was nearly 100% and able to try many things on the bike. It is easy to see that we have improved here compared to last year. On the long run at the end I was not too happy because it was not so good, but the conditions were quite bad by then so I don't really care about that. The track got very humid and I didn't want to push too hard and risk crashing. In three weeks we are here again and I didn't want to be injured for that. We hope that we will have a great opportunity this season because everyone is working really hard. I am so happy to still be with Rizla Suzuki and overall - although we know we still need to improve a little bit - we have done a good job so far this year."
"Today has been a lot more positive than yesterday, because on Thursday we had a lot of other things to do and never really got much done in the test. Today I could concentrate just on riding and during the first time out I felt more comfortable than at any time yesterday. I improved my lap-time by more than one second and also my riding was much better. We tried different settings for geometry and suspension, for both the front and rear of the bike and think that we have a good base set-up for the race already. At the end I tried to do a long run and did 15 laps, but after a full day riding I was a bit tired! I am happy because I am improving every time and I now know I am ready to race!"
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"The first night here in Qatar was really tough for a number of reasons, but we're pleased to have taken a significant step forward with both of the guys tonight. Suzuki has been working very hard to improve the consistency of the bike and without question there has been some progress in that direction. That said, we have still got a lot of work to do to close the gap, but to end the test with Loris in the top six and Alvaro the fastest of last year's 250cc riders is a good sign - particularly as Qatar is a track that has never been too kind to us in the past!"