In an exclusive interview with Alstare Suzuki's Troy Corser
at the NEC show in Birmingham, UK, the Australian rider seemed sure of his ability to challenge for the 2005 World Superbike title...
... And the 1996 world champion has already set the pace on his Suzuki debut at the Valencia test, riding what was first thought to be the new 2005 GSX-R 1000.
can reveal that the bike Corser is riding is actually Alstare Suzuki's 2003 World Superbike machine - as raced by Gregorio Lavilla and Vittorio Iannuzzo - dusted off by the team to get Troy used to a four-cylinder after three-years riding the FP1 triple.
What comes as even more of a shock is Corser's dominance on the dated machine: At the close of the second day of testing he had lapped 0.3-seconds faster than Regis Laconi's 2004 Superpole lap, with a 1min 35.6secs scorcher.
Laconi himself was second quickest by the end of the day with a 1min 36.2secs circulation - however, that was achieved on next year's factory Ducati 999 F05.
Corser's fastest lap of the day would have put him third fastest during Superpole from 2003, when there was no control tyre rule, highlighting his immense speed on the '03 Suzuki and Pirelli tyres.
"It's great to be riding a bike and having fun again!" reported Corser. "Yesterday (Tuesday), was basically about me getting on the bike and making it comfortable to ride, so we spent a lot of time playing with the position of the foot-pegs, seat and handlebars. We also tried some different offsets and changed the head-angle to get a good base setting.
"At the end of the day, I was a little surprised to find out that I had been the fastest rider of the day!" smiled the Aussie. "Especially because, I hadn't pushed hard at all, I had just been riding the bike and getting used to it. I ended up with a 1min 36.92secs - and that was half a second quicker then anybody else!"
Corser then continued that field leading form into the second day of testing.
"I was still over half a second faster then anybody out there today and that gave us all a bit of a buzz," he admitted. "Even though I am riding a 2003 Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra GSX R1000, I'm already very happy and excited about my future prospects.
"The bike feels so much better then my last bike from mid-corner to the exit of the corner. The engine responds in a very linear way to my hand on the throttle and I can feel that it has a lot more torque. Also, I can go a bit wide in the corner or be on a different line and can still run a good lap time. The bike is very rider-friendly and the rpm or gear is not so critical.
"I cannot wait for the new bike when it comes, but I feel that I could race this very bike right now and be a contender for sure - and that's a wonderful feeling to have at this early stage," he concluded.