Suzuki's 1993 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz got to try the factory's new MotoGP prototype on Tuesday at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
|Kevin Schwantz rides the Suzuki 'XRH-1' inline four-cylinder MotoGP machine, being developed for the 2015 world championship|
The 49-year-old completed 11 laps with a best time of 2m 12.75s. Official Suzuki test rider Randy de Puniet set a best of 2m 6.41s, which would have put him just behind the top Production Honda for pace in Sunday's race, when the fastest lap was a 2m 3.58s by winner Marc Marquez.
Schwantz, who retired from grand prix in 1995, last tried a four-stroke Suzuki MotoGP bike at Valencia in 2006. The Texan is present at the private COTA test to get laps on a Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike ahead of his participation in this year's Suzuka 8 Hours.
"I went on the MotoGP machine after riding the GSX-R1000 Superbike and it felt like going from a 500cc to a 250cc bike; the MotoGP machine is so small and compact!" said Schwantz.
"The bike turns, accelerates, goes fast; it does everything and I had fun and really enjoyed it. With this bike you have power and braking so you brake and accelerate and the bike does all the rest.
"I think Suzuki should race now - the sooner the better! You can test a lot but in the race you really understand."
Suzuki is testing ahead of its 2015 MotoGP return, but is expected to make at least one wild-card race appearance towards the end of this season.
"It was very emotional to have Kevin Schwantz - everybody's hero - riding our bike here. He was quite fast considering the conditions, so we'd like to thank Kevin for this gift!" said Suzuki test team manager Davide Brivio.
However Schwantz will stick to the Superbike on Wednesday's final day.
"After having ridden the MotoGP machine, I now appreciate much-more the GSX-R and I want to continue to work on that now to prepare for my race at Suzuka in July. So tomorrow [Wednesday] I will only ride the GSX-R."
|The #34 back on a Suzuki grand prix machine|
With track and air temperatures much cooler than the weekend's MotoGP second round - and with Monday's opening day hit by heavy rain and dirty track conditions - de Puniet completed 56 Tuesday laps on his way to the best of 2m 6.41s.
The team spent a lot of time in the morning session testing new chassis settings and also adjusting the gearbox for the team's debut at the Texan circuit.
"This was a new track for Suzuki but also I have not ridden the bike since February," said de Puniet. "We spend some time changing the settings and the gearbox ratios, then we continued to compare two different frames and we found again that the best one here was the one we choose in Sepang. And we confirmed it again that this is more-stable in the corner entry.
"In the afternoon we tested different electronic maps. It has been not bad as first day here and I'm confident we can improve tomorrow. Hopefully the track will be cleaner."
Suzuki will also test after the forthcoming MotoGP round in Argentina.
Suzuki, which withdrew from MotoGP at the end of 2011, will be considered a 'new' manufacturer next year and thus race under the same special Factory rules as Ducati, meaning they start the season with all of the Open class fuel/tyre/engine/testing concessions.