Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra's reigning European Superstock 600 Champion Xavier Simeon began his Superstock 1000 challenge at Valencia in Spain today with his new Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7.
Although the bike was virtually standard, Simeon managed to record the ninth fastest time of the tests with a lap of 1:39.027, just inside the lap record set by Massimo Roccoli (Yamaha) in 2005.
Italian Claudio Corti (Yamaha) posted the day's fastest time with a lap of 1:37.420 followed by Ayrton Badovini (MV) and Nicola Canepa (Ducati).
"I am reasonably happy with my lap times today but not happy that so many riders went quite a bit faster. But, here my bike is completely standard so perhaps my results aren't so bad after all. We don't have the shifter on the bike so it means I have to change gear using the clutch every time and that costs fractions of a second every gear-change. The engine is also completely standard and once the work is done on it, I'll be able to go faster. There is still a lot of work to be done to make our bike competitive, but unfortunately the next time I'll be on it will be in first practice at Donington at the end of the month.
"But at least I've managed to put in a lot of laps - 80 altogether! - and start getting used to the bike. We started today getting myself dialled into the bike - seating position, footpegs, handlebars and all the usual stuff. But what I can say straightaway is that this bike is very different to either the 600 Superstock or Suzuki Cup bike I rode last year. Riding this bike is much more physical and so I have to learn where, when and how to push it.
"In the Superstock 600 class last year there were only three or four riders fighting for the top spots and then quite a gap before the rest of the field. Last year was my third year on a 600 so I knew the bike really well. This is my first time on a 1000 and there are probably 10 to 15 top riders in this class so it's going to be much harder then last year. But this is part of my learning curve and I am ready for the challenge. It's a bit of a shame that I won't have any more track time before Donington but I'll be going there to do my best - as usual."
Valencia Test Results:
- 1. Corti (I-Yamaha) 1:37.420
- 2. Badovini (I-MV) 1:37.582
- 3. Canepa (I-Ducati) 1:38.211
- 4. Pirro (I-Yamaha) 1:38.320
- 5. Sacchetti (I-MV 1:38.616
- 6. Van Keymeulen (NL-Yamaha) 1:38.685
- 9. Xavier Simeon (B-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:39.027