Former Yamaha team manager Davide Brivio has been contracted to put the European test team together and declared Motegi “better than expected,” with the bike supposedly sporting several key design changes.
Suzuki refused to release any official times, but Honda and Yamaha test teams were also present and leaks suggested the bike was around 1.6 seconds off Dani Pedrosa's fastest lap from the 2012 Japanese race in October.
Denning feels there has been ample preparation time to allow Suzuki to be competitive - should a 2014 return be confirmed - but continues to exercise caution over its ability to challenge the premier class front-runners.
“It's been two years out so they should be able to. But there is a big difference between testing and racing and obviously having a nice bike that works well is not impossible to achieve.
“However, obviously that is difficult and the target of running with Honda and Yamaha at the front of races is a big, big ask. It's never easy and it will continue not to be easy but I really hope that the bike hits the sweet spot straight away and goes well.”
After Monday's official test session Suzuki are planning to test the machine for two further days at the Motorland Aragon circuit.
to read the full interview with Denning, in which he also discusses proposed changes to the World Superbike Championship.
By Neil Morrison