Telef?nica MoviStar Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts Jr. and Sete Gibernau talk about the first day of testing on the new bike and their feelings about riding the 990cc four-stroke machine for the first time.

"It's hard to put into words, but everybody in the team had smiles on their faces today." Said Kenny Roberts. "It was just the first day, and we know it's gonna be tough. We were working mainly on mechanical issues: the settings of the slipper clutch and the engine mapping and power character. The first aim is to make the bike more comfortable, more consistent in its feel, and so it's easier to anticipate the way it's going to respond.

"In this early form, it's quite deceptive. The top speed and the acceleration are more than the 500 two-stroke, but it doesn't feel like it's going faster. Though we're not to the point yet to know what it will be like on the limit.

"The feel is great - and the sound is the best of any of the four-strokes we've heard so far. Now we need to zero in on the engine and chassis settings we need, and move on from there.

"The team is in a much better position now than we anticipated at the end of last year. Suzuki moved this project forward at our request, and we are having to put a lot of new development work into a short space of time. We might have some problems along the way.

"That is no discomfort for me. I'm grateful for the commitment the factory has shown in building this bike so quickly, and that the whole team is committed to getting the bike competitive. We're all on the same path, and that makes a big difference."

Sete Gibernau feels like the bike is the teams new baby :

"We are like new parents." Said Sete. "We think everything about our new baby is cute. Time will tell if it is beautiful or ugly, but right now every time we look at it ... it's definitely beautiful.

"The bike has really good potential - but we have a lot of work to do, and not a lot of time. The focus of myself and the team over the next weeks will be very critical.

"It is all completely new and we need to get data on the computer for the technicians to see why things are happening. We need to target the major areas first, then fix the smaller details.

"Because the programme was put forward, we know we are behind the other factories in terms of development - but still I feel very positive. The effort from the factory to get this bike built has been fantastic, and hopefully it will pay-off for us as riders and for Suzuki as a factory, because they deserve it.

"It's a big project, and it's nice to be part of it."

Technical Adviser Warren Willing and Team Manager Garry Taylor talk about how the team will work together to get the best results from the new bike.

Warren Willing (Technical Adviser) thinks the bike is a whole new type of racer:

"The new bike gives us a very good starting point, though of course at this early stage there are lots of things that we need to improve on." Said Warren. "In effect Suzuki are doing their early development in public, when it would normally be behind closed doors.

"The new bike definitely has a lot of promise, and the V4 design has no disadvantages against a five-cylinder in the 145kg category. As we go further into the testing, we will get a better understanding of the characteristics and dynamics. The chassis, dimension and geometry are based around the RG500 GP racer, but the four-stroke engine has a different mass distribution and different power characteristics.

"The MotoGP rules mean that all the factories are developing a completely new type of machine. It's not just a Superbike with less weight and more power. The new 990 four-strokes won't only be racing against one another, but also against two-stroke 500s, which have very little engine braking and a very high corner entry speed by comparison.

"The riders enjoy the power of the 990cc engine, but they also need those characteristics of the two-strokes if they are going to be able to race against them.

"Developing something new is never an overnight process, and we have a lot of work to do. But it's really interesting work, for the engineers and the riders."

Garry Taylor (Team Manager) knows that the task has begun of transforming the bike into a winning machine.

"The bike is lovely - it looks superb, and sounds fantastic," said an excited Garry Taylor. "The whole team is on an up at the moment.

"Today was just the first of many days of testing to follow, and we know there is a long way to go. We didn't come here thinking about lap records: these are still shake-down tests of a very new and very exciting motorcycle.

"Even so, it's already quicker on top speed than the fully developed 500.

"Today the riders were in and out of the pits, making frequent adjustments as they look for base settings. We're working on getting the bikes comfortable, steerable and so on, and for the pit crews to become familiar with the new demands.

"The team is working side by side with the factory engineers and test riders Yukio Kagayama and Akira Ryo. The factory has worked very hard to get the bike to this stage so quickly, and the team is very committed to taking on to the next stage - as a competitive racer. The whole feeling is very positive.

"It's a big job, but it's started off well."


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