After a competitive showing at the two previous Sepang tests, which saw lead rider Loris Capirossi in the top six at a track friendly to the GSV-R, Rizla Suzuki is expecting this week's cooler Qatar night test to provide a better indication of the team's overall 2010 potential.
Unfortunately, the results from the opening night weren't too encouraging, with a sick Capirossi and rookie team-mate Alvaro Bautista only eleventh and 17th fastest, out of 17 riders, with a best lap time 1.7sec and 2.6sec from the front.
“I think that the bike is a bit better compared to last year's, but I didn't make many laps today because I don't feel so good,” said the Italian. “This will now make tomorrow very important because we have some big things to try and some other bits to fix. I am really optimistic and think that the new bike is a step in the right direction and we have an opportunity to make an improved performance in the championship.”
Meanwhile last-placed Bautista just didn't feel comfortable, or enjoy himself, during the opening night.
“The first day here has not had the same feel for me as I had on the last day in Sepang, this is because it is a new track for me on a MotoGP bike with new reference points and I don't feel 100% yet. The problem I have is in the exit of corners, I can keep a good line and go out through them, but it is difficult to get it right every time and enjoy it. We've tried different solutions, but I don't have a good feeling. We decided to stop a bit early because it has been a long [night] and my body is not feeling the changes we are making to the bike. Tomorrow we have another day and I hope to be 100% and to enjoy riding the bike and to go much better.”
Friday night will mark the last opportunity for testing before the start of the 2010 MotoGP season, back at Qatar, on April 11.