Rizla Suzuki riders Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen were left just twelfth and 16th during Friday practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.
Capirossi tried a radical setting on his GSV-R at the beginning of the hour but was quicker on a more conventional setting at the end - recording his fastest time, 1.793sec behind Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), on his very last lap.
"We started the session with an unusual setting that put more load on the rear tyre, we didn't really find that it worked that well for us, but we were able to understand what is needed,” he said. “On the last run I went out on my other bike and it had a different set-up and I was able to go a bit quicker. I think for us it was a difficult practice today, but it has given us a lot of ideas to do a lot better tomorrow - for sure I will be a lot faster.”
As well as searching for a set-up, team-mate Vermeulen had to overcome acute back pain following a recent training accident - which required x-rays this morning to check everything was ok. The Australian was 2.501sec slower than Lorenzo and ahead of only Marco Melandri (Hayate).
"It was a bit difficult in the beginning, because I hurt my back in Australia about a week ago and it didn't make things very comfortable on the bike,” he confirmed. “It was tough to move around at first, but after a couple of changes to the settings things became a lot easier. Towards the end of the hour I changed to my other bike - which had a different geometry setting - but unfortunately we had a couple of issues and I had to come in early. I am sure if I can get a bit fitter for tomorrow, we will be able to qualify well, because the bike feels as if it is in really good shape."
Despite the dour start, team manager Paul Denning believes the GSV-R worked well on at least one point of the track.
"One area we have struggled with in the past here at Estoril is the final corner - in terms of generating enough grip - and with the new evolution of the bike that problem does seem to be largely solved,” he said. “If we can now take a decent step overnight we should be in a position to make a good improvement around the whole racetrack and find a decent chunk of time."