SITEMAP | HOME Back to the Home Page  

Rizla Suzuki racers slash lap times during practice

RIZLA SUZUKIS Tom Sykes and Atsushi Watanabe completed free practice at the Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent in eighth and 18th places respectively, ahead of round one of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

The two 50-minute long sessions on the undulating 2.3 mile circuit gave Sykes time to get dialled into his Rizla Suzuki, and allowed Watanabe to get to grips with the challenging track where he will make his UK race debut.

Sykes improved his lap time from the morning session by 0.5secs and feels there is more to come ahead of the singular 50-minute qualifying session tomorrow.

At the moment I have one or two minor areas that I want to work on which are front end feel and engine braking, explained Sykes. Once they are sorted I will be able to fully commit to the corners. At the moment it is only practice so I dont want to push too hard just yet tomorrow afternoon is when it counts. Im confident we can improve for qualifying and get my Rizla Suzuki onto the front row of the grid.

Watanabe showed impressive form dropping his lap times by nearly 1.5secs during the timed sessions. He said: I am still learning the circuit but I think it is ok. We just make little changes to my Rizla Suzuki on the suspension and the engine settings. I need help to learn but I learn fast so no problem.

Team Manager Jack Valentine commented: We have a bit of work to do to get the guys further up the field. We know what we want to change and have another practice session tomorrow morning to try those changes out. Im impressed with the times that Atsushi has posted today considering it is the first time he has ever been on the full GP circuit. I know there is more to come from Tom so Im looking forward to seeing improvements.

The fastest time of the day was 1min 26.657secs set by Ducatis Shane Byrne. There is another practice session before qualification tomorrow. The Superbike racing starts at 1345 on Sunday, April 6th and will be shown live on Eurosport, with a highlights programme broadcast on Channel 4 at 0110.

Practice Times:

1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 1:26.657
2: Leon Haslam (Honda) +0.335
3: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +0.875
4: Karl Harris (Yamaha) +0.890
5: Leon Camier (Ducati) +1.018
6: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +1.027
7: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +1.290
8: TOM SYKES RIZLA SUZUKI +1.342
9: James Ellison (Honda) +2.143
10: Stuart Easton (Kawasaki) + 2.181
18: ATSUSHI WATANABE RIZLA SUZUKI +3.060