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de Puniet: I want Suzuki MotoGP ride
11 November 2011
Rizla Suzuki team manager Paul Denning was 'very impressed' with the performance of Randy de Puniet on his last-minute GSV-R debut at the Valencia test.
The former Pramac Ducati rider stepped in at short notice to ride Alvaro Bautista's 800cc bike during the first day of the test - and set the fourth fastest lap out of the 16 riders.
de Puniet was beaten only by the factory 1000cc bikes of Dani Pedrosa (Honda), Casey Stoner (Honda) and Ben Spies (Yamaha).
“One hour before I rode the bike I didn't know I was going to be on it, so I had to modify old leathers to remove the wrong brands!" revealed de Puniet. "I had a good day and am very happy with the lap-time and position."
With Alvaro Bautista having left Suzuki for Honda Gresini, de Puniet did an excellent job of putting himself in contention for a 2012 race seat - providing the factory decides to stay in MotoGP.
"I was very impressed with the bike and I felt comfortable immediately and enjoyed it a lot. I would like to ride it next year, I'm not the boss, but I hope I did a good job for everybody!" said de Puniet.
"I think the bike has good potential and also the feeling with everybody in the team was good and this is the most important thing for me - to feel at home."
Team manager Paul Denning, who is still waiting to hear if Suzuki will continue in grand prix, was eager to hear de Puniet's views on the GSV-R and admitted he was 'very impressed' by the Frenchman's performance.
“We took this opportunity today to test with Randy because the bike has changed quite a lot over the year, and with John's bad luck in Brno and Malaysia we didn't get the chance to get the further feedback from a rider other than Álvaro," said Denning.
"With that in mind it was an opportunity to properly test the 2012 Bridgestone tyres and receive detailed comments on the Rizla Suzuki GSV-R from another perspective.
"Frankly speaking we didn't expect the result, but we are really pleased to see that Randy enjoyed the bike so much, was able to get a good feeling immediately and was very fast and consistent, as well as giving excellent technical feedback.
"I would like to say thank-you to him - I was very impressed with what he did today.”
Suzuki did not test on the second and final day, when Bautista made his Gresini debut on the 800cc RC212V. Bautista's best lap was 0.270sec slower than de Puniet's day one time.
If Suzuki remains in MotoGP it is expected to start next year using the 800cc bike.
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