Rizla Suzuki MotoGP began using its brand new 800cc MotoGP engine for the first time today and was quickly on the pace, as both racers posted times faster than their best from Sunday's final 990cc race.
John Hopkins led the way with a best of 1'33.14 from his 29 laps with team-mate Chris Vermeulen only fractionally behind, as the young Australian recorded a time of 1'33.17.
The new 800cc engine was tested today in the same chassis as the current 990 GSV-R. Suzuki has a major development programme for the chassis, bodywork and all major components over the winter testing period. This includes testing a completely new prototype chassis, which Factory test rider Nobuatsu Aoki will debut tomorrow.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has one more day testing at Valencia in Spain, when both riders will be trying many new settings to evaluate the new engine and provide more data for the factory.
"I gotta admit I'm very happy with the day! Right out of the box we were able to get into our race-lap times that we did on the 990cc bike. We have some basic problems which you always get with a new bike, such as engine mapping. We still need a bit more acceleration and some fine tuning, but for a new machine this is the best position we have ever been in since I've been at Suzuki! Like I said I'm very happy and we have a lot more things to test over the winter, but how it stands at the moment I am expecting big things to happen with this machine!"
"It was the first ride on the 800 for John and me today. Our test riders have obviously done a lot of miles on it already and the whole test team and Suzuki have done a great job - the bike was good to start with. We made some modifications to suit the Valencia circuit and we were able to do lap-times consistently close to the ones we did over the weekend. It is very promising for the first ride and even more so when you consider it's an 800 engine bolted into our 990 chassis. I am quite happy for the first test and there is a long way to go to the first race. It all looks very promising and if we can start like this we certainly have a goal to aim at."