Rizla Suzuki has concluded its final track action of 2009 with new signing Álvaro Bautista and Factory test rider Nobuatsu Aoki completing a three-day test at the Estoril circuit in Portugal.
Bautista used the three days to continue his acquaintance with the Suzuki GSV-R and the performance of a MotoGP machine by completing over 200 laps of the 4,182m Portuguese track. His rhythm and speed increased step by step, eventually lapping consistently at 1’38.5, a time comparable to the Rizla Suzuki racers when they came to Portugal for the Grand Prix last month – despite cooler, lower grip conditions at the test. Bautista was able to ride the GSV-R in a number of conditions over the three days with rain on day one, overcast skies on the second day and sunny, but cool conditions on the final day. He also tested some new specification engine components, aerodynamic parts and Akrapovic exhaust systems on day three and was able to confirm team-mate Loris Capirossi’s conclusions from the recent Valencian test.
Suzuki’s Test-Rider Aoki continued with the fundamental test programme that regular racer Capirossi had begun during the test at Valencia, following the final race of the season earlier this month. He worked hard with Capirossi’s crew to continue the assessment of many new parts that will now be taken back to the Japanese factory for further re-evaluation during the winter test ban, which will be vital to the decision making process in readiness for the first test of 2010.
Bautista and Capirossi will now be sidelined by the enforced winter test ban that comes into operation at the end of this month and ends at the beginning of February next year. The pair will next be in action at Sepang in Malaysia in early February as the team and factory continues to prepare for the 2010 MotoGP season. The first race of next season gets underway beneath the floodlights at Losail in Qatar on Sunday 11th April.
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Suzuki is very pleased to have been able to complete this test for two reasons – firstly to give Álvaro essential additional seat-time on the GSV-R and secondly to give Nobu the chance to do some important testing on a GP track outside of Japan. This has allowed him to test some fundamental changes in readiness for the ‘real world’ conditions of next year’s race season and Nobu did a very detailed and committed job at the test. Nobody in Suzuki or in the team is under any illusions regarding the amount of additional performance needed out of the GSV-R for 2010 and whilst the test items have not been night-and-day differences, they will certainly help the overall package be a lot stronger when we get the new bike at Sepang in February.
“Álvaro has been very impressive over the three days and has completed 212 laps with absolutely no errors. His pace at the end of the test is very respectable, especially considering that there were only two bikes out there on track and with cooler conditions and no rubber being laid down the conditions were not as good as they were at the race weekend last month. He has gelled really well with the whole team and is taking a very calm approach – the mechanics also like him because each of his runs is so long, a minimum of around 12 laps, so they get the chance to have a rest!
“It is now a long time until Loris and Álvaro get to test again, we really wish Loris could have been here in Estoril, but the regulations are what they are and we are grateful to have had this opportunity to point us in the right direction as Suzuki strives to become competitive in 2010.”