After a terrible weekend at Phillip Island, Rizla Suzuki got the Malaysian Grand Prix off to an encouraging start with the sixth fastest Friday practice time for Loris Capirossi at Sepang.
A close third fastest at the pre-season Sepang test, the Italian worked to adjust the subsequent updates made to the GSV-R to suit the characteristics of the 5,548m circuit.
"We did struggle a bit at the beginning as we tried to modify the bike, but the times were still quite good so we knew we were going in the right direction,” said Loris. “Towards the end of the session the bike became a bit better, but it is still not perfect so we have a bit of work to do.
“We used two completely different traction controls, we didn't quite get the best feeling from either of them but we certainly have a direction to follow tomorrow with the data we have got from them. Overall it has not been too bad today and we know we can improve quite a bit tomorrow, we have a good plan and if it all goes well we should have a really good weekend,” he declared.
"We have tried to put the disappointment of Phillip Island behind us and today's session has gone some way towards that, but we still have a lot of work to do,” echoed crew chief Stuart Shenton. “We had a good pre-season test here earlier in the year and although the bike has progressed throughout the season we are hoping that we can get a good result from the new bike based on the settings we have from that test.”
Team-mate Chris Vermeulen, starting his penultimate MotoGP race before switching to WSBK in 2010, posted the tenth fastest time on his very last lap.
"It is good to come to a track that the bike performs well at,” said the Australian. “Obviously we have tested a lot here and that meant we had a good set-up right out of the box. We ran-in some important components during the first part of the session and made sure we got a reasonable feel from the bike. At the end of the session we stuck the harder rear tyre in and got a bit faster. I am reasonably happy with the first session; we've still got some areas to fix, so we'll try a few different things tomorrow to hopefully get it right."
Vermeulen and Capirossi finished just eleventh and twelfth at Phillip Island last weekend, despite accidents and incidents accounting for three riders ahead of them.