RIZLA SUZUKI'S Cal Crutchlow and Chris Walker finished their first test of 2007 at Calafat in Spain in confident mood and not even the rain that stopped the action halfway through the final day could dampen their spirits.
Ideal weather conditions yesterday and up until lunchtime today allowed Cal to complete 105-laps of the twisty 3.5km circuit. He concentrated on finding a neutral base setting on day one before experimenting with new Dunlop tyres, Ohlins suspension and chassis settings on the second day, posting an impressive 1:25.5s fastest lap.
Stalker clocked 115-laps in total and used his Superbike experience to get through a lot of parts and setting tests for the team. His fastest lap of 1:25.7s came just as the rain started to fall.
Rizla Suzuki now returns to the UK to further develop the bikes at its HQ at the Crescent Performance Centre in Verwood, Dorset, in preparation for its next test at Almeria in Spain on February 27-28th.
"It has been a very good test and I feel as though we are well underway for the season. The amount of testing I completed in the last day and a half is about the same as I did in total last season and there is plenty more to come.
"After finding a neutral base setting we fine tuned the GSX-R. First of all we moved in the wrong direction but we quickly changed that and it all started to gel together. I feel that before the rain started to fall we had found a good package for the circuit. We certainly have plenty of information to work on and help us improve for the next test."
"The GSX-R1000 is starting to feel more like my bike now. After finding a base setting I spent my laps putting in a lot of donkey work testing parts and settings. That paid off for the team and I'm a little gutted we didn't have a dry afternoon to go for faster times and honing the Rizla Suzuki. I think both Cal and I could have got into the 1min 24s.
"There remains a lot of work to get through before we go racing. The bike is fast and has incredible potential and we have only unlocked a portion of that here at Calafat. There's more to come for sure. What stands out is the power delivery, it has so much drive in the lower gears it's a case of how much you need and mapping it to suit. It is enjoyable to ride and I can't wait to get back testing in a couple of weeks time."
Simon Buckmaster, Team Manager:
"Both riders are optimistic and happy after this test. The whole team shares those feelings with them and in my view one of the most pleasing results has been how the team has worked together so well, that is a key requirement if we are going to succeed.
"Chris and Cal's respective sides of the garage have shared information, ideas and data and it has helped us to accelerate through our development plans. Even though we lost half a day to rain, the test couldn't have went much better as we got through an incredible amount of work.
"Calafat is a brilliant track for testing, with plenty of similarities to British circuits, so we know what we have achieved here will transfer to the UK. Anything below 1min 26s is a fast lap-time and both guys managed that which is fantastic. It's been the perfect start for Rizla Suzuki and now we will take what we have learnt here, apply it to our bikes in the workshop and start the next test at Almeria from a stronger position. Well done to the whole team, it's been a great effort."