Rizla Suzuki completed its penultimate pre-season outing at the Albacete circuit in Spain with Chris Walker heading today's time sheets and Cal Crutchlow close behind in third place - good enough for third and fourth places over all three days of the test.
Stalker spent much of the day working on his Ohlins forks and clutch settings. In the last session after completing his test programme, he tried a Dunlop qualifying tyre and set a blistering pace of 1:30.070 to record the fastest time on the day and third overall.
Crutchlow put effort into tuning his rear shock and carried out tests to his clutch and forks. His quickest lap was 1:30.768 and good enough for third on the day and fourth overall.
Both Rizla Suzuki riders enjoyed excellent weather conditions and were on track for four 55-minute sessions at the 3.53km challenging circuit. The team returns to the UK in time for the official British Superbike Test at Snetterton next weekend, March 24-25th.
The British Superbike Championship starts at Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent on Bank Holiday Easter Monday, April 9th.
"It's nice to head the timesheets today but in the grand scheme that is not as important as the amount of data and work we have got through in this test. We have learnt a huge amount about what affects our Rizla Suzuki Superbike, what works and what doesn't.
"If we apply what we have learned here then we will be quicker next time we are on track and that has always been my aim. The whole team is putting in immense amounts of effort to make the GSX-R1000 as competitive as possible for the first round of the season. Rizla Suzuki is stepping up to the mark."
"It's been another very good positive test and I have proved that I can run up at the front with the best riders in British Superbikes - despite the fact they all have much more experience on Superbikes than me and this being my first visit to Albacete.
"In reality I am a couple of 10ths down on Chris but I am not far behind and within touching distance. The Rizla Suzuki is good and we still have work to do to find a better shock setting. I am really pleased, I can't ask for any more and thank my crew for all their hard work. We'll go to the Snetterton test in good spirits and ready to make more progress."
Simon Buckmaster - Team Manager:
"We have intensively tested the clutch settings, slipper clutch, Ohlins forks, Ohlins TTX shock and quite a few Dunlop tyres. We have achieved exactly what we wanted from this test and finishing first and third on qualifiers today was the icing on the cake.
"Perhaps most encouraging is not our times on qualifying tyres, but on race rubber. We finished third and fourth on race tyres, with both riders only a fraction behind the Ducatis. That shows we are capable of running with one of our main title rivals for race distance.
"Well done to the team, it's been a tough work-load but we are in good shape. I am looking forward to our final test next weekend and then getting down to the racing, we're going to be as ready as we possibly can for the opening event at Brands Hatch."
Unofficial Test Times for all three days:
- 1: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) 1:29.800
- 2: Leon Haslam (Ducati) 1:29.900
- 3: Chris Walker (Rizla Suzuki) 1:30.070
- 4: Cal Crutchlow (Rizla Suzuki) 1:30.768
- 5: Karl Harris (Honda) 1:30.778
- 6: Michael Rutter (Kawasaki) 1:31.635