Team Suzuki MotoGP faced a full line-up of their main 2005 MotoGP rivals for the first time during day one of official testing at Barcelona today - in which riders Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins set the 10th and 17th fastest times.

Roberts Jr completed 43-laps during the eight-hour test, which he spent working on front end feel and grip. Kenny posted his fastest lap of the 4.7km track at 1min 44.282secs - putting him just over one-second behind the fastest time of the day set by Honda's Max Biaggi.

"I am looking for more front end feel from my GSV-R and we spent most of today working on the fork and chassis settings. We have a direction and plan on how to improve this tomorrow," he explained. "A big positive to come from today was the strength of the engine. The Suzuki is definitely up on horsepower compared to last year, and this gives us so much more potential."

But how much more horsepower have the other teams found? Roberts set a best top speed of 324.2km/h - putting the former world champion 15th on the top speed list, 10.9km/h slower than Ducati's Loris Capirossi and 10.4km/h from the fastest Honda. However, the American was at least within 2.3km/h of the leading Yamaha and comfortably faster than the Kawasakis.

Meanwhile, his team-mate Hopkins completed 37-laps with a fastest lap of 1min 44.849 - which was over a second quicker than his best race time of last year and came despite a small fall.

"I'm really excited about the GSV-R and today shows how much better it is getting - I've knocked a lot of time off my fastest lap from last year," he said. "I tested both my bikes with different set-ups and they both showed big improvements since our last test at Phillip Island. If we keep going at this rate of development we will be challenging the front runners, that's everybody's target."

Testing continues at Catalunya on Saturday and Sunday.

Barcelona test times - Friday:

1.Max Biaggi ITA Repsol Honda 1min 43.158 secs
2.Sete Gibernau SPA Telefonica Movistar Honda 1min 43.254 secs
3.Makoto TamadaJPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 43.347 secs
4.Marco MelandriITA Telefonica Movistar Honda 1min 43.433 secs
5.Valentino RossiITA Gauloises Yamaha 1min 43.518 secs
6.Colin Edwards USA Gauloises Yamaha 1min 43.882 secs
7.Alex Barros BRA Camel Honda 1min 43.902 secs
8.Loris CapirossiITA Ducati Marlboro 1min 43.974 secs
9.Carlos Checa SPA Ducati Marlboro 1min 44.102 secs
10.Kenny RobertsUSA Team Suzuki 1min 44.282 secs
11.Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda 1min 44.284 secs
12.Shinya NakanoJPN Fuchs Kawasaki1min 44.325 secs
13.Troy Bayliss AUS Camel Honda 1min 44.403 secs
14.Alex HofmannGER Fuchs Kawasaki1min 44.548 secs
15.Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Yamaha 1min 44.55 secs
16.Ruben Xaus SPA Fortuna Yamaha 1min 44.787 secs
17.John Hopkins USA Team Suzuki 1min 44.849 secs
18.Shinichi Itoh JPN Ducati-Bridgestone 1min 45.043 secs
19.Nobuatsu AokiJPN Team Suzuki 1min 45.727 secs
20. Roberto Rolfo ITA D'Antin Ducati 1min 46.331 secs
21.Shane ByrneGBR Team KR-KTM1min 47.152 secs
22.James EllisonGBR Blata WCM1min 47.663 secs
23.Vittoriano Guareschi ITA Ducati Marlboro 1min 48.217 secs
24.Franco BattainiITA Blata WCM1min 49.115 secs
25.Shimizu KazukiJPN Fuchs Kawasaki1min 56.136 secs

Comparative lap times:

Catalan Grand Prix - 13/6/2004:

Pole position: Sete Gibernau SPA Telefonica Movistar Honda 1min 42.596secs

Fastest laps: Honda: Sete Gibernau SPA Camel Honda 1min 44.641secsYamaha: Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 1min 44.708secs Ducati: Ruben Xaus SPA D'Antin Ducati 1min 45.119secsSuzuki: Kenny Roberts USA Team Suzuki 1min 45.477secsKawasaki: Shinya Nakano JPN Fuchs Kawasaki 1min 45.532secsAprilia: Shane Byrne GBR MS Aprilia 1min 47.038secsProton KR: Nobuatsu Aoki JPN Proton Team KR 1min 47.739secs

 

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