Worx Crescent Suzuki riders Tommy Hill and Yukio Kagayama overcame rainy conditions to begin preparations for the 2010 MCE British Superbike Championship by completing a three-day shakedown test in Portugal.
The first time the pair have ventured out on track since being confirmed with the Jack Valentine-helmed Suzuki team towards the end of 2009, it was an opportunity for both Hill and Kagayama to get reacquainted with the BSB-specification GSX-R1000 following a spell away from the bike.
Travelling to Portimao for the test, former factory World Superbike rider Kagayama is looking forward to returning to the United Kingdom to continue his career having last raced on these shores in 2004.
“I'm very happy to be back with the team and this has been helpful as a lead-up to the test at Cartegena. There are many parts which are specific to the Crescent Suzuki – different to my bike from last year – so it's been helpful coming here to get a feel for the bike. Now I go back to Japan for a short time before coming back with my family – we're really looking forward to a year living in England.”
Hill's return to Worx Crescent Suzuki hasn't been nearly as lengthy as Kagayama's, the 25-year-old having earned a contract on the back of two impressive guest performances during 2009. He too is pleased to be back in the British series on a full-time basis.
“We've completed a lot of preparatory work that we had to get out of the way, putting together some good base settings with the suspension and electronics. We've also been trying some different clutches and different engine braking systems. It's been busy. Now I'm looking forward to Cartagena and meeting up with the rest of the BSB riders.”
A return to full strength for Worx Crescent after it prepared just a single machine for Sylvain Guintoli in 2009, team manager Valentine was impressed with the progress made over the three days.
“It's been a successful shakedown. We're a much bigger team this year with some new personnel, so this test has been a great opportunity to get everyone together and to gel as a team.
“For Yukio it's been an introduction to the Crescent bike and the Pirelli control tyres as used in BSB. Tommy and Yukio have also been working on getting base settings for the new Öhlins suspension and the updated Motec electronics package we're using for this year. The rain has compressed our schedule but were still able to run through many settings and we're very pleased with the progress we've made.”