Team Rizla Suzuki's John Reynolds put his new GSX-R1000 racer on the podium at the first round of the 2002 British Superbike season at Silverstone yesterday.

Reigning British Superbike Champion Reynolds earned a hard-fought second place in the second race of the day to add to a strong fourth position in the first event. In-between races, he changed the suspension settings and his rear tyre, and was able to ride nearly one-second per lap faster in the second race.

Reynolds said: "It is nice to be back on the rostrum. We altered the suspension set-up and put in a harder compound tyre for the second race and it worked very well on the GSX-R1000. But I am disappointed to have narrowly missed the podium in the first race. There is still a bit of work to do on the bike but the changes we made were a big improvement over the first race and show the potential of the machine. It has been a hard weekend here at Silverstone and I am really looking forward to Brands Hatch and Round Two. We tested at Brands earlier in the year and were very quick, so can look forward to a good event."

Reynolds' team-mate Karl Harris, the reigning British Supersport Champion, finished a superb sixth in his first Superbike race. He was challenging for a podium place in the second race that was restarted after fellow Suzuki rider John Crawford crashed and knocked himself unconscious, but Karl suffered a high-speed crash at Bridge corner only two laps after the restart.

A typical tough northerner, he dislocated his shoulder but gamely walked away from the accident and popped it back into place by himself, using the nearest Armco. The team is inspecting his race bike for possible mechanical failure.

Harris said: "I dislocated my shoulder in the crash but forced it back into place once I got out of the kitty litter. It's a real shame, the bike was mega, going really well, as best as it had gone all weekend. I don't know what happened, it just let go and I found myself tumbling. A sixth place finish in the first race was good, but I'll do better than that next time out."

Rizla Suzuki Scholarship rider Nick Medd came in early during the first race after feeling a vibration through his rear wheel and scored a brave 18th in the second race. He said: "We struggled this weekend to find a good bike set-up, but I'm glad to have got my first weekend behind me."

Team manager Paul Denning said: "Nick has never ridden at this level before and he is learning everytime he goes out on the bike. That's the whole idea of the scholarship programme and an 18th place finish on your first race day is impressive. We are currently investigating Karl's bike for mechanical failure."

"These Suzuki GSX-R1000 bikes are based on production machines and we are finding out the limits of what we can do with them. They are fantastically strong and give enormous performance, but as a team we are still learning the ultimate limits. A sixth place in your first Superbike race is a brilliant result and I'm sure Karl would have beaten that in the second race if he hadn't been so unlucky."

"John did a sterling job today - exactly what we pay him for. He put in a fantastic effort and was nearly a second a lap faster in the second race after making a few changes. It shows the incredible potential of the bike and the rider, and is very encouraging for the rest of the season - we are not far off the race win."

 

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