The 2004 Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 offers more performance than ever before - that's the verdict after the team's first three-day test session at the Spanish Almeria circuit, which ended yesterday.

Double British Superbike Champion John Reynolds completed 65 laps yesterday. In the fine weather in the morning he rode a 2003 version of the GSX-R1000 before switching over to a new 2004 version of the bike after lunch.

The new specification Rizla Suzuki benefited from using new Ohlins gas-charged forks and a new rear shock, new Afam sprockets, a revised Factory engine specification, new Q8 Oils SBK Racing oil, new electronic components, new SBS Dual Carbon brake pads and the latest Dunlop tyres. The bike had been set-up after both JR and team test and development rider Niall Mackenzie had spent the previous two days testing the parts in isolation. JR instantly noticed an improvement with the bike.

"I couldn't have asked for a better start to 2004," smiled JR. "Last year's Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 was good and I think it was the bike to beat. Well, the 2004 version has just beaten it.

"I rode well within myself, especially as the afternoon wore on and the cold weather moved in. I stayed out and did two-thirds race distance to see how the new parts would cope after a few laps and I was very happy with the feeling of the bike.

"Thank you to my team and to Niall for helping at this test. Everyone has worked really hard on the bike and it is paying off. There's still a long way to go before the first race at Silverstone but if we can continue to make progress like this, then we are going to have a very competitive bike when the season starts on March 28th."

That is good news for JR's Rizla Suzuki team-mate Yukio Kagayama, who is currently at home in Japan. With Suzuki assistance, Yuki will be testing race bikes and parts at the Factory's test track during February, before returning to the UK in time for the next Rizla Suzuki test session.

Team manager Paul Denning said: "It is fair to say we already have a bike that is better than anything we had last year and that's a good starting point. We'll now spend February refining the new specification and working on a few other areas that we can test when we visit Valencia in early March.

"The team worked really well during this test and the new members - Stewart Johnstone and Mark Hanna, both made very positive contributions. Next time we test, Yuki will be with us and we can't wait to have him back. There's a lot of hard work ahead for the team before the racing starts, but we have unlocked some potential in the Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 and we all believe there is plenty more to come."

Rizla Suzuki will be testing at Valencia in Spain on March 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th, before coming back to the UK to continue development at Donington on March 14th, Silverstone on March 17th and Oulton Park on March 23rd. The season starts at Silverstone on March 28th.



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