Rizla Suzuki's John Reynolds was the only rider to go below 1m 42 seconds as he posted the fastest lap time during first practice at the eighth round of the British Superbike Championship at Mondello Park in Ireland today.

JR, like the rest of the BSB field, is visiting the 2.1760-mile long Mondello Park track 25-miles south west of Dublin for the first time this weekend and was quicker than everyone else to learn its tight twists and turns.

"Learning the circuit hasn't been that difficult and we have spent all day softening the bike to cope with the tight corners and bumpy surface," said Reynolds, "This is the bumpiest track we race at and the ripples are small and stuttery, just the sort that catch you out in the middle of a corner.

"We have also been working on softening the bike. This is a slow track and trying to manhandle a very powerful bike around here is not easy. We have been dialling power out of the engine to make the bike easier to ride and drive out of corners. Getting on the gas early will be important around here. I am happy with my riding position and tomorrow we will be looking to test tyres for race day as well as qualifying as high as possible."

His Rizla Suzuki team mate Yukio Kagayama finished up eighth, just one-second off the top spot and working hard on the set-up of his GSX-R1000 race bike.

"This is a very bumpy circuit and I have spent time today trying to set up my bike's chassis and suspension so I can push hard," noted Kagayama, "I have also been testing different gearing and tyres and we will make some adjustments for tomorrow.

"My bike is very powerful and maybe is too powerful for this track. I am not getting on full gas very much anywhere! But I feel good and relaxed and I am looking forward to tomorrow and challenging John-san for pole position."

The Rizla Suzuki team is joined this weekend by Mr Kamomiya, general manager of the Factory Suzuki MotoGP team and Mr Tsutomu Matsugano, a technician for the Suzuki MotoGP team.

"I think after winning two races at the last round, Yuki is under a little bit of pressure to perform here and he is maybe a bit nervous," commented Matsugano, "That will be gone tomorrow and we can expect him to be challenging for the front row I think.

"John is completely different to Yuki in how he rides a bike, he is very smooth and fast compared to Yuki's all action style. JR is very stable and today he was super fast. I am very impressed by the Rizla Suzuki team effort today and the level of competition in BSB."

Mondello Park is a slow track by Superbike standards with an average speed of just 76mph. That is more than made up for by the multitudes of corners and overtaking possibilities and huge crowds are expected to visit the first ever BSB race in Ireland when Superbike racing starts at 1:15pm on Sunday July 20th.

 

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