We have achieved a lot
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has completed the second test of the 2007 season at Phillip Island in Australia, having accumulated large volumes of important data for the forthcoming season.
Chris Vermeulen shaved nearly two seconds off his lap-times
over the three days and completed his fastest ever lap of the circuit, with a 1'30.30, during his 79 laps today. The Australian star was returning to Phillip Island for the first time since last year's wet race and set about the task of improving the new GSV-R800 to make it competitive in dry conditions at the 4.4km track.
Vermeulen worked tirelessly with his crew throughout the test and completed a total of 207 laps. They tested many new chassis settings and refined the engine mapping to make the bike more rideable for the difficult and demanding Australian circuit.
By the end of the third day Vermeulen and his Crew Chief Tom O'Kane were only making detailed changes to the bike and they are sure they will be in a much stronger position when the team return for round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship in October.
The ever-improving Australian star also tested a brand new heart-rate monitor system supplied to the team by Garmin. This enables Team Physio Dean Miller to track Vermeulen by GPS and record his physical performance while out on circuit.
John Hopkins was pleased with the test but frustrated with his end result, and believes he can find more from the GSV-R when the team return to race. He clocked up 55 laps today and recorded his quickest ever lap of the circuit with a time of 1'30.60. His team worked thoroughly throughout the test and managed to make many improvements that will assist the GSV-R to also perform at a higher level elsewhere. He conducted similar tests to Vermeulen, as he too set about the job of making the new bike fully competitive at all circuits.
The Anglo-American racer completed 191 laps in total as he worked on getting the consistency and durability of both machine and Bridgestone tyres right for the track. His comprehensive testing schedule highlighted many issues that Hopkins and his team were able to work on and find solutions for.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now travels to the Middle East for the first Official MotoGP Test at Doha in Qatar, between the 13th and 15th February. The first round of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship is also at Qatar on Saturday 10th March.
Chris Vermeulen :
"When we first got here on Tuesday we struggled quite a bit, but we did expect to really.
We had a similar problem to that which we had at last year's race weekend here and the bike was quite hard to ride without spinning the tyre that obviously affected the durability. We worked a lot on that, both with chassis settings and engine mapping over the week and it got a lot better as time went on. I improved my average lap time by about one and a half seconds over the three days and that is quite a big step! I also did my fastest ever lap around Phillip Island. I also tested a new heart monitor while I was out riding the bike, this will help me to see how I can improve on my fitness over a race and show me how my body is reacting to various situations on track. So all-in-all it was a pretty good test. We have still got quite a long way to go around here but the progress we have made at Phillip Island will hopefully help us at other circuits and make the bike work even.
John Hopkins :
"Basically we have done a lot of laps, and although we found a lot of positives we didn't end up getting exactly what we wanted from here. We sorted out some of the engine mapping and power delivery issues, but this test has been a bit of a reality check. We did struggle over the three days and it showed we still have a bit of work to do on the bike before we come back here for the race in October. I still have some things to sort out with my own riding round here as well, and they can't be fixed overnight I also have to improve at Phillip Island, not just the bike. I am now really looking forward to getting out in the desert in Qatar, we had a good 990 set-up for there and the bike usually feels good. I'm certainly looking forward to riding the new 800 there and getting back to the sharp end of the timesheets!"
Paul Denning Team Manager:
"This test was always going to be an interesting one for the team, with a clear objective of further developing and improving the new Rizla Suzuki GSV-R800. We have achieved a lot and gathered good information about the bike that we can work on over the coming months, to make us competitive for when we return here later in the year. Chris and John have both worked extremely hard over the past three days and the team has certainly taken big steps forward in certain areas of chassis set-up and engine mapping to cope with this difficult circuit. Bridgestone has also collected a huge amount of data and I am sure that they will be able to give us a tyre that has the durability we are looking for to match the character of the bike. Overall this has been a very important test much more so than Sepang because it has shown us where we need to concentrate our efforts and what has to be done to get the best out of the GSV-R800."