Rizla Suzuki completed its pre-season test programme at a cold, windy and dry Snetterton circuit in Norfolk today, with Chris Walker and Cal Crutchlow making more development progress with their GSX-R1000 race bikes.
Stalker, returning to the circuit for the first time in seven years, spent time reacquainting himself with Snetterton's fast straights and turns; before testing various suspension parts and settings in the final afternoon session. Blighted by three red flags, his time on track was limited, so he opted to continue testing parts right until the chequered flag rather than go for an outright lap time. He finished ninth overall.
Cal found a comfortable setting on his bike early in the day and was competing for the leading positions when he suffered a freak crash at the Russell Bend. He was unhurt but didn't return to the track for the last 14-minutes. His time from earlier was good enough for 10th overall. Honda's Jonathan Rea was fastest.
Rizla Suzuki is back in action on Bank Holiday Monday, April 9th, for the first round of the 2007 British Superbike Championship, at the Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent.
"Given the cold and windy conditions, we decided rather than chasing lap times, we'd work on developing the bike for race conditions. On that front it's been a good day - right at the end we made a change to the forks that made a positive difference to the front end feel on my bike.
"Today's lap times don't show how competitive we really are but I'm not apologising for that, we've made more progress and that's the result we wanted. I'm excited that the next time we are on track it's going to be the opening round. I can't wait."
"I worked through a couple of changes to the link and added a rear thumb brake today, all of which helped to improve my Rizla Suzuki. I was feeling good and the bike was quick, so when I crashed on a closed throttle out of the chicane, it was a surprise.
"I'm not hurt from the crash and frustrated as the time sheets really don't give a true reflection of our position. It's not the perfect way to finish our test programme but the fact is we are faster and better than we showed today and I'll be out to prove that at Brands Hatch on April 9th."
Team Manager Simon Buckmaster:
"Chris got through some useful testing today but I would have liked him to have had time to go for an outright fast lap. He got through some good parts tests but that doesn't mean that 9th on the time sheets is acceptable - we are all a little disappointed.
"Cal was riding well and looked on top of his game right up until his accident. At the point of the crash he was more than three-quarters of a second faster than his previous best lap and contending for the top six. We think it might have been caused by a rapidly cooling track and cold tyre, so he can leave here knowing it wasn't his fault and hungry to show what he can do at the opening round.
"Overall the team underperformed to expectation today but we will learn from that and focus on the positives - we learnt more about the bikes and are in good shape for the start of the season at Brands Hatch in two weeks time."
Official Test Times;
- 1: Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:05.010
- 2: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +0.819
- 3: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +0.992
- 4: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +1.096
- 5: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) +1.155
- 6: Tom Sykes (Honda) +1.376
- 7: Leon Camier (Honda) +1.463
- 8: Shane Byrne (Honda) +1.667
- 9: Chris Walker (Rizla Suzuki) +1.953
- 10: CAL CRUTCHLOW (Rizla Suzuki) +1.974