Álvaro Bautista made his MotoGP entrance onboard a Rizla Suzuki GSV-R at a cool and windy Valencia in Spain this afternoon.
Bautista has made the step-up from the 250cc class and performed well on his first ride on a four-stroke MotoGP machine He completed 52 laps of the 4,005 Ricardo Tormo circuit as he familiarised himself with the difference in performance between the 800cc bike and his previous ride in the quarter-litre class, finishing the day with a very impressive lap-time of 1’35.772.
Loris Capirossi used the short afternoon session to begin testing new components for the 2010 Suzuki GSV-R. He began by evaluating a new cowling designed to improve cornering confidence in windy conditions and also tested some new Akrapovic exhaust systems which will be a factor in Suzuki’s performance development for next year’s machine.
Rizla Suzuki has a full day of testing at Valencia tomorrow and another half-day on Wednesday morning, when both riders will continue with their respective test schedules to get the maximum preparation under their belts in readiness for the 2010 season.
“The test this afternoon has not been too bad for us, because the weather was so similar to yesterday we were able to do back-to-back comparisons on a couple of things without having to worry about outright lap-times. We will make some big changes tomorrow because we have a lot of time and also a lot of things to try. We got a better feeling today than we had all weekend and the new cowling and pipes certainly made a bit of difference. It will be really important to get a full day tomorrow and make sure we understand the direction we are going in. I think already that the direction for 2010 is clear and that we can improve a lot.”
Tom O’Kane – Crew Chief, Álvaro Bautista:
“I would firstly like to welcome Álvaro to the team and the whole crew is looking forward to working with him. I have been very impressed by the way he took to the bike today and his feedback has been excellent considering it is his first time on a MotoGP machine. His times are also very pleasing, but that is not the important thing right now. We need to get him familiarised with the bike and then we can start making adjustments and improvements that will help him to improve on his times. He has already gelled with the team and he looks like being a big asset to Suzuki.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The conditions today have been very similar to yesterday’s Grand Prix, which was a good thing because it has helped us compare things in particular areas where we have struggled. The new cowling design that Loris tested was not a fundamental fix, but it has certainly helped his confidence. Although the ultimate lap-time isn’t important the biggest benefit has been that his consistency and rhythm has improved a great deal. Along with some other detailed test items it has been a productive afternoon for Loris and small first step towards improving our level in 2010.
“We have been delighted to see Álvaro riding the bike today – as well as him smiling a lot and basically enjoying himself. He has never ridden a four-stroke motorcycle before – let alone a MotoGP machine – so to make a lap-time in the 1’35s within 50 laps of riding the GSV-R is very encouraging. He is already starting to feel a part of the bike and the team. Overall from both sides it has been a good first day of the test, so let’s hope we can continue upwards tomorrow.
“A quick ‘thank-you’ is also due to our new technical partner Akrapovic, who are working so hard to help us and already in the first test with their systems we have found a good step forward in power delivery.”