Rizla Suzuki manager Paul Denning is confident a revised bike and the addition of Alvaro Bautista to the team will see them make a bigger impact next season than it did in 2009.
Suzuki endured one of its least successful MotoGP seasons this year, with Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen finishing ninth and twelfth in the final standings, while it was the first time since 2004 that the manufacturer has failed to reach the podium.
Nonetheless, Denning is already making positive noises about Suzuki's chances next year, in particular the arrival of 250cc graduate Bautista, who races alongside Capirossi in 2010.
A two-time race winner in 2009, Bautista joined the team for the first time during post-season testing at Valencia this week, with Denning encouraged by the Spaniard's 'seamless' transition to the four-stroke.
“Álvaro's transition to the four-stroke and to the team has been seamless; he looks very comfortable on the bike and appears to have ridden within his own abilities in this first test on the GSV-R. He has treated the three days not so much as a test, but as an extended track-day. He has certainly had some fun as well as beginning to understand the characteristics of the bike.
“Again today he didn't run any of the updated parts, so to make consistent low 1'34s is a very positive start. He's very focused and is an enthusiastic character to have in the pit and we are looking forward to having an enjoyable and hard-charging atmosphere with Loris and Álvaro for 2010.”
While both Bautista and Capirossi will not get the chance to ride the 2010 specification GSV-R until next February, Denning was pleased with the work the Italian has done on the existing machine to set them up for a fresh start in the new year.
“These three days have been a good start towards the target of significantly improving Suzuki's level in MotoGP in 2010.
“There haven't been any fundamental changes to the bike here; those will come in February at Sepang, but the detailed work that Loris has completed, especially with the Akrapovic exhaust systems, new engine specifications and aerodynamics have made the bike easier and more consistent to ride. The lap-time isn't spectacular, but it is a lot closer to the top group than it was during the race weekend so some progress has certainly been made.”
Bautista will get a chance to get further miles on the Suzuki when he tests with the team at Estoril next week.