FIXI Crescent Suzuki completed a successful day's work in the Official eni FIM Superbike World Championship Test at Motorland Aragon today and leaves the Spanish circuit in an upbeat mood following a positive performance by the whole team.
Leon Camier set the seventh quickest lap today with a time of 1'58.179, which was almost half-of-a-second quicker than his best time over the race weekend. He worked constructively all-day with his crew and made a number of changes to his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R during the course of his 49 laps around the 5,344m circuit. The main purpose of today's test was to try out the new 17-inch wheels and tyres that will be used in next year's World Superbike Championship. Camier tested the new combination in the morning session and was able to give good feedback as to how the machine performed. He changed back to the 16.5-inch set-up - which he is used to - in the afternoon, and was immediately able to push harder and then set his best time of the weekend.
John Hopkins made steps in the right direction during the test and recorded a best time of 1'59.512 from his 31 laps, almost three-tenths-of-a-second quicker than he has gone all weekend. He too tried the new-sized wheels and tyres, and although he found he had more grip he reported that he was losing some stability in the corners. Hopkins made many changes to his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R and was able to give the team plenty of feedback and information in preparation for the forthcoming races.
Today's temperatures were slightly higher than yesterday, but the strong winds that hampered the riders in the races had subsided today and this certainly made conditions easier for all concerned. Pole setter from the weekend Tom Sykes, set today's fastest time.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now return to its headquarters in England and assess all the data from this weekend's races, and today's test, before it makes the trek across Europe for the next round of the Championship which is scheduled for Sunday July 22nd at Brno in the Czech Republic.
"We tried a lot of different things on my GSX-R today and collected a lot of data, which the team will analyse and work on before the next race. We changed a few settings and also tried some new firmware and it was definitely an improvement. This will give us some ideas to work on and I feel positive about the direction we're taking. I tried the new 17-inch wheels and tyres this morning and my initial feeling was that the bike felt less nimble. The grip was better, but that made the acceleration out of the turns a bit worse. But we didn't make any geometry changes, so it's likely that there's room for improvement. I was pushing quite hard in the afternoon session, when I was back on the 16.5-inch tyres, and went faster than yesterday - which is a good way to end a test."
"The test was productive and I am happy that I went a bit quicker than yesterday. The conditions were a bit better because the wind wasn't anywhere as strong, so we were able to go faster. I tried the 17-inch wheels and tyres in the afternoon and found that I had loads more grip, but my speed in the apex of the corners was scrubbing off. I also had quite a bit more chatter, but we were running standard geometry on our FIXI Crescent Suzuki, so for sure we'll make be able to make improvements."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"I felt today's test was pretty productive and I am happy with how things went. We had a chance to test the new 17-inch wheels and tyres that we'll all be using next year and it was important to make a start with them and get as much data as possible. Both riders said that the tyres felt good and that there was plenty of rear grip, but that the GSX-Rs were a bit harder to turn - maybe because the new front and rears are about a kilogram heavier. I think that feeling can be dialled out once we start playing around with the geometry of the bike, but today we just ran standard set-ups. Leon and John both managed respectable lap times compared to the 16.5 tyres and were able to give a lot of info to the team. Leon tried some new electronics today and the results were very positive. I am happy that both FIXI Crescent Suzuki bikes ran perfectly today and now we're all looking forward to Brno."
Aragon - eni FIM Superbike World Championship - Monday Test:
1 Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'57.254
2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'57.313:
3. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1'57.658:
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1'58.034:
5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'58.054.
7. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'58.179.
15. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'59.512.