Team Rizla Suzuki proved its pedigree in Spain with both riders setting lap times at the Valencia track that would have put them third and fourth on the gird at the World Superbike race held there earlier this month.

Yukio Kagayama hustled his British Superbike Championship specification Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 round the track in 1m 35.65s, just edging his team mate John Reynolds who stopped the clock on 1m 35.70s.

Both riders set their fastest laps in blazing sunshine using race rubber and after spending most of the morning testing suspension and chassis settings. It concluded a fantastic test for the team, with both riders improving their race machines considerably during the three days.

"This was my first time at Valencia," commented Kagayama. "It is a nice track. I spent many laps testing the chassis and geometry on my bike. Now it is very good. I have a good position to start with when I approach a new circuit. We know how the bike reacts to changes, so hopefully that will help me to set my bike up quickly at the British tracks, leaving me maximum time to learn the circuits, which are all new to me.

"The time I set today was good. After so much testing sometimes it is nice to stretch your legs. But saying that, if it had been a race I think I could have pushed a bit harder. Today I was quick without any risks at all, it was easy."

Reynolds added: "After day one when it was wet, we were a bit frustrated, but the last two days of bright sunshine and forward progress has cheered us all up.

"I concentrated on getting comfortable on the bike and then trying out different suspension settings. It was well worth doing and I am pleased with my final lap time. That would have put me on the front row of the WSB race here on March 2nd and that gives a real indicator of our current position. Especially when you consider we were on race rubber and not giving it 100 per cent. There is plenty more to come from me and from the bike."

Reynolds' cheif technician, Dave Marton continued: "This test has been awesome, it is the only way to describe it. We have made progress in all areas and are recording lap times on race rubber that are competitive at the highest level of Superbike racing.

"There is a real spring in the step of the team right now. We are all working together and pulling in the same direction. Both riders are spurring each other on and enjoying themselves while they do it."

Team manager Paul Denning concluded: "The lap times and overall performance is incredibly encouraging considering neither rider had been to Valencia before. Some of our main BSB competition wasn't at this test but I'm confident that our new GSX-R1000 has the pace to run at the very highest level.

"We are keeping our feet firmly on the ground at this stage as testing and racing are two completely different things. However, if we are not competing at the very front of the pack at Silverstone come March 30th, we will all be extremely disappointed."

Team Rizla Suzuki moves on to Barcelona for a further two-day test at the Catalunya track on Wednesday and Thursday, sharing the circuit with Suzuki's MotoGP team of Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins. The team has a full programme to complete during the two-day test, in preparation of the first race of the British Superbike season at Silverstone on March 30th.



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