Solid fourth and sixth places for Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi during day one of the Jerez test acted as further confirmation of the 2009 GSV-R's potential.
Unlike most of the field, Suzuki didn't test at Jerez in November - opting for a private outing alongside Kawasaki at Phillip Island instead - but, as at Sepang and Qatar, the new machine was able to hold its own towards the sharp end of the timesheets.
"It's been good to come back to a track like Jerez because it is very different to Malaysia and Qatar where we have already tested this year,” said Vermeulen. “We didn't come to the test here last year - like the other teams did - and for us to get mostly a dry day today was very important and it has proved that the new bike has definitely taken a step forward at all kinds of circuits. We've been consistently faster than we were last year and the bike feels a lot easier to ride.”
“We tried many things to find the best solution for tomorrow and I think that we are close and can concentrate just on lap-times tomorrow,” said Capirossi, who was less than a tenth behind Vermeulen. “I am happy with the progress and the bike is still as competitive as it was in the first test and we are pleased with where we are at the moment.”
Suzuki's next task is to try and bridge the 0.7sec gap to third placed Casey Stoner, with Fiat Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi a further tenth out of reach.
“It has been a day of checking and confirming the changes and the developments that have been made at the other circuits, and whilst we weren't quite as quick as we were at Sepang at the end of January, the potential still looks very promising,” said team manger Paul Denning.
“The gap to the front three riders doesn't look so big on paper but at Jerez it's quite a lot to find,” he warned. “We will be looking to get the most out of the bike overnight so that the riders have the confidence to move their own performance levels to the maximum tomorrow."