Rizla Suzuki riders John Reynolds and Yukio Kagayama kicked off the 2004 British Superbike race season in confident mood, finishing second and sixth respectively in Friday's practice for Sunday's first round at Silverstone.

JR worked on the suspension of his Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 and finished happy with progress and a definite plan to go faster tomorrow.

"It has been a very productive day for us and we have finished with a bike that is going in the right direction," said Reynolds at the end of the day. "Tomorrow we will try a few new ideas and see if we can make it even better.

"It was cold on track today and I hope it gets warmer for the races on Sunday. I am relieved to have the first day of the new season over and for us to be in such good shape."

In cold track conditions, team-mate Yukio Kagayama concentrated on chassis set-up and finding the best gearing for his bike at the fast-flowing 2.2130-mile Silverstone circuit as he racked up 45-laps in the two one-hour sessions.

"Today was so-so for me, I would have liked to be faster. I was working on my chassis and suspension settings and that was good. My fastest lap was my last lap but I know I can go quite a bit faster. I will be happy when I am going same speed as John-san, if my body lets me," said Kagayama.

"Now I am going back to my new motorhome. It is one day old and already I have locked myself out of it once and had to force my way inside with a screwdriver. Then when I returned today, it was flooded with water, I think I made a wrong connection. I need a mechanic to help with setting up my motorhome as well as my GSX-R1000."

For team manager Paul Denning it was a good first day at Silverstone. "I am pleased that the first day of practice for the new season has went without any problems and everybody is in high-spirits," he said at the track. "JR and his crew are pushing ahead and getting faster and faster. They haven't touched a qualifying tyre yet and that is very encouraging, there is a lot more to come tomorrow.

"I cannot tell you how positive Yuki's performance has been today. He has over-achieved and to be sixth fastest is fantastic. To complete 45-laps in this bitterly cold weather while still recovering from serious injury is impressive and I take my hat off to him. He's still battling fitness this weekend as well as the other riders, but one look in his eyes and you know he really wants to win.

"We have new team members with us for the first time this weekend and everybody is pulling together and in the same direction. Rizla Suzuki is a team that is working well together and focussed on winning."

Friday qualifying times:

1: Michael Rutter (Honda) 1:26.432
2: John Reynolds (Rizla Suzuki) +0.359
3: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +0.986
4: Dean Thomas (Ducati) +0.999
5: Sean Emmett (Ducati) +1.021
6: Yukio Kagayama (Rizla Suzuki) +1.264
7: Scott Smart (Kawasaki) +1.671
8: Glen Richards (Kawasaki) +1.767
9: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +2.437
10: Gary Mason (Yamaha) +2.558



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