17 April 2014
Suzuki wraps up Austin MotoGP test, top Open pace
“Today on the race tyre, we improved a lot from yesterday's lap times and found a good pace” - Randy de Puniet.
Suzuki concluded is private post-race MotoGP test at the Circuit of the Americas with Randy de Puniet setting a lap time comparable to top Open class rider Aleix Espargaro.
de Puniet completed a total of 62 laps on the final day, with a fastest time of 2m 5.85sec; just-over half-a-second quicker than his previous best and set on a 'race tyre'.
That would have put de Puniet 13th in terms of best race laps in the grand prix, between Forward Yamaha's Espargaro and Gresini Honda rookie Scott Redding. The fastest lap was a new record of 2m 3.575s by Honda race winner Marc Marquez, while the best lap by a Ducati rider - competing under the same Factory-Open rules as Suzuki next season - was a 2m 3.978s by Andrea Iannone.
“I'm happy that we have found a big improvement on throttle connection and traction control,” said de Puniet. “We worked some time to find the right setting with the new electronics also and at the end we found a good compromise. We continued to work on the chosen chassis and it worked really well today.
“So the package is definitely better and I wanted to have an extra day to be able to continue the work as yesterday we spent most of the time setting-up the bike for the new circuit along with the new electronics. Also, I have not been riding a bike for a few weeks and I needed to get back the feeling.
“Anyway, today on the race tyre, we improved a lot from yesterday's lap times and found a good pace. Unfortunately I wasn't able to try some sort-of time-attack by the end of the day as we had a small problem on the bike and we lost the last half-hour on the track. But I feel we had the potential to even further improve our performance.”
Suzuki has an extensive testing schedule planned ahead of its 2015 return and will also be on track following the forthcoming round in Argentina.
“Now we'll go to Argentina - which is a completely new circuit - but I'm glad we will go there soon and hopefully I will be still hot from this test,” said de Puniet.
Satoru Terada, Project Leader and Team Suzuki MotoGP Team Director, is satisfied with the technical progress of the new inline four cylinder machine.
“We brought a new engine-spec and new chassis-spec here and found a good combination. We also worked on combining a good electronic setting to this new engine-spec and we are happy with the results. We also confirmed today our chassis choice,” he declared.
“Our performance in terms of lap-times could have been better by the end of the day, but the important point is that we leave Austin with good information about our bike and about this circuit.”
Test riders de Puniet and Nobuatsu Aoki were joined on track this week by 1993 world champion Kevin Schwantz and the Yoshimura Suzuki AMA Superbike team.
“We also had a time to enjoy Kevin Schwantz riding our latest MotoGP bike and also sharing the circuit with Yoshimura Team, supported by Suzuki Motor of America,” said Terada. “Now we look forward to Argentina where we will test again on Tuesday and Wednesday after the MotoGP race.”
Suzuki will race under the revised Factory rules, meaning as a new manufacturer they can keep their factory ECU software and enjoy the Open class fuel, engine, tyre and testing benefits until they reach a certain number of top three results. Ducati, having not won a race in 2013, has the same rules.
A single ECU will then be made mandatory from 2016.
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