FIXI Crescent Suzuki had a very productive test at the Moscow International Raceway today in preparation for the inaugural Russian round of the eni FIM World Superbike Championship race this weekend.
Today's test was the first time World Championship machines have used the new Russian facility and it gave all the teams and riders the chance to learn the track ahead of the race weekend. FIXI Crescent Suzuki racers Leon Camier and John Hopkins finished the day satisfied with the set-ups of their Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-Rs and are looking forward to further progress this weekend.
Camier recorded a best time of 1'37.000 from his 67 laps, with team-mate Hopkins posting a quickest time of 1'37.163 from the 64 laps he completed. Today's top-man was Carlos Checa, who lead the timesheets with Leon Haslam second and Tom Sykes in third, but with less than one-and-a-half-seconds covering the top-18 riders, this weekend looks like it could be a tight affair.
The next time the Superbike field heads out on to the 3,931m Russian circuit, will be for the first-ever competitive two-wheeled action at the €130million facility in Friday morning's free practice session. This Sunday's two races will both be over 25-laps, with the first scheduled for 12.00hrs local time (09.00hrs BST) and race two set to get underway at 15.30hrs local time (12.30hrs BST).
"I'm pretty happy with what we've done today. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki is working well and the set-up is pretty good also, so hopefully we will continue progressing and improve the bike further. The track initially felt a bit slippery and dirty, but got better as more rubber went down. It's mostly first and second gears, with a couple of third gears thrown in and it's not really a track that flows. It's very tight and twisty and there are not so many passing places, so getting a place on the first two rows of the grid is very important. I did some good laps on old tyres this afternoon, but when I put on some fresh rubber, the bike started chattering and that caused a few 'moments'. Without that I would've finished in the top five or six for sure."
"This track is all about first and second gears and so far I'm not finding it a fun track to ride. It's the same for everybody, so I'll just have to keep working at it. The track was better this afternoon and we definitely ended the day with the FIXI Crescent Suzuki working well. We improved the bike from the morning to the afternoon and I feel we have a good base setting. My confidence continues to grow and generally I feel in good shape, especially because we were towards the front end of the timesheets right until the end of the session. As this is more or less a one-line track, qualifying is going to be crucial, but I hope to be in the right position come race-day."
Jack Valentine -Team Manager:
"It's been a really positive day and both riders got dialled-in pretty well at this very demanding track. Today we concentrated on putting in the laps and getting good set-ups, but we also managed to improve throughout the day. Leon was in sixth and John comfortably in the top 10 with less than six minutes to go. They then went out on new tyres - the same compound as they'd been using all day - but were unable to improve their lap times because of chattering caused by the tyres' lack of consistency. Overall, I'm really pleased with the riders and the bikes and think we can get some good results if we keep progressing this well."
Moscow - eni FIM Superbike World Championship Test:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1'35.891
2. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1'36.071
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'36.119
4. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'36.304
5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'36.421
13. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'37.000
15. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) 1'37.163