The 2003 British Superbike season may not start until the end of March, but already Team Rizla Suzuki is racing ahead with development of its new for 2003 GSX-R1000 race bikes.

Based at Verwood, Dorset, the team received four 2003 GSX-R1000 production bikes late in December. Now, four weeks later, the machines have already been stripped down and are undergoing race modifications.

Dave Marton, Chief Technician for John Reynolds, has spent every waking moment of the last four weeks studying the new bike and preparing it for the coming season.

"The 2003 GSX-R1000 is a better base for a race bike than the 2002 model," began Marton. "It has some small modifications that make it more user friendly for the race team like an adjustable swing arm. That allows us to move the swing arm 5mm in any direction which will really help with setting the bike up on the track."

The frame for 2003 is stronger than the previous year, but despite that, the team has stripped the bikes bare and is adding extra bracing.

"We won't get a huge amount of extra stiffness from the bracing; the frame is good in standard trim. The maximum we want will be a few per cent improvement," Marton explained.

The new GSX-R1000 engines feature minor modifications that will boost horsepower on the race bike. A standard production engine has already been dyno tested at more than 150bhp. The team is expecting the race engines to produce between eight to 10 per cent more power [162-165 bhp] on last year by the first race.

"The rules have been relaxed concerning pistons and camshafts for 2003 and we are developing those parts," revealed Marton. "We've also been doing a bit of dyno work on the bike and results are promising at this stage. We just can't wait to start testing now."

The frames will be fully braced by early next week and then the rebuild process will start, ready for the team's first test in February.



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