SUZUKI: ACTUAL GROUNDWORK STARTS AT SEPANG MOTOGP TEST
Only three official tests now different Suzuki from its MotoGP return.
The first of those takes place at Sepang in Malaysia this week, when Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro will get their very first opportunity to assess changes made to the GSX-RR since the previous evaluations in November.
"We will start the first evaluation of the season, it is just another test for us, but the feeling this time is completely different as this is the real preparation for the approaching season that begins quite soon," admitted team manager Davide Brivio.
"Going to Sepang we're in exactly the same situation as everybody else as we start to get ready for our first season and of course we're all quite excited. We have just completed assembling the new bikes in Japan and we all know our riders can not wait to get back on the bikes as we start this new endeavor and comprehend where we're at regarding development."
Top CRT and then Open class rider Espargaro was 14th fastest on his Suzuki introduction in the official Valencia post-race test ( 1.3s), before a further private test at Jerez.
"The first evaluations in Valencia and Jerez last November were great and fulfilling so we have essentially kept working in exactly the same direction and targeting the first race of the season. We will have a lot of hours analyzing in Malaysia which means that there's a lot of time to attempt the new bike and I'm sure that we're able to be competitive against the other teams and riders."
MotoGP rookie Vinales was the quickest beginner at Valencia (17th, 2.3s). Moto2 race winner and the prior Moto3 champion is keen to get back on track.
"I've spent most of my time over the winter riding motocross, cycling and ice racing and I have done whatever I could do to be fit and ready for the very first test. I'm confident in my physical state and I really believe that our team and the Suzuki engineers has kept working hard during the winter months; I'm quite excited to see the improvement made on the bike. I already have a very positive feeling from the tests in November and my expectations for my first MotoGP season with Suzuki are extremely high."
Randy de Puniet, who struggled with engine and electronic dilemmas during the introduction of the GSX-RR as a wild-card at Valencia, will likewise be on track at Sepang to help with development.
Suzuki will subsequently start its first MotoGP season at the same Losail circuit on March 29 since 2011.