Rizla Suzuki riders John Reynolds and Yukio Kagayama held their own against the likes of Repsol Honda, Ducati Marlboro, Suzuki, Proton KR and Aprilia MotoGP teams during testing at Valencia.

Both 'JR' and 'Yuki' set their best lap times at the Spanish circuit on Sunday, the final of the two days, when weather conditions were near perfect. Reynolds set a best of 1min 35.9secs with Kagayama - currently recovering from pelvic injuries sustained last season - one second slower. Both times were set on normal Dunlop race rubber.

That pace put pre-season BSB title contender Reynolds just 2.6secs behind the fastest GP rider at the test, factory RC211V mounted Nicky Hayden, and ahead of Aprilia test rider Marcellino Lucchi and Proton KR's Kurtis Roberts.

Reynolds also put the road based GSX-R1000 machine within 1.8secs of the fastest Suzuki GSV-R at the test, ridden by 2000 world champion Kenny Roberts Jr, and within a second of stand-in Gregorio Lavilla on the second Suzuki GP machine.

"I am genuinely pleased with this test, we have made big steps forward with the bike and tried many new parts and components," said JR. "Not all the changes that work here at Valencia will work at UK tracks, but there is no denying we are going away from here with a stronger bike than when we started.

"The chassis variations we tried gave us some great results. Those will help us throughout the whole season. Testing is one of those things that you have to do if you want to be on the pace when the racing starts. Spending four days on the limit trying new parts is stressful and I am glad all our hard work has paid off. I can hardly wait to get stuck into the racing at the end of the month," added the Englishman.

"I did not push 100 per cent at any time in this test," claimed Kagayama. "I am still getting back to full strength and I do not want to risk another injury so close to the start of the racing season; there are no points for testing.

"I am tired now, but I am very happy that I managed to do a lot of laps and my body condition is getting better every time I ride. My goal is to be as fit as possible for the first round of BSB at Silverstone."

Rizla Suzuki will now head to next Sunday's official British Superbike test at Donington Park with the most advanced versions of the GSX-R1000 ever built.

The 2004 British Superbike Championship starts at Silverstone on March 28th.

MotoGP Valencia test - best overall times:

1. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda 1min 33.3secs
2. Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro 1min 33.4secs
3. Alex Barros BRA Repsol Honda 1min 33.5secs
4. Troy Bayliss ITA Ducati Marlboro 1mins 33.5secs
5. Kenny Roberts Jr USA Suzuki 1min 34.1secs
6. Gregorio Lavilla SPA Suzuki 1min 35.0secs
7. Nobuatsu Aoki JPN Proton Team KR 1min 35.6secs
8. Marcellino Lucchi ITA Aprilia 1min 36.0secs
9. Kurtis Roberts USA Proton Team KR 1min 36.8secs

 

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