One day after the end of the final European MotoGP test, attended by the majority of teams at Jerez, Suzuki and Kawasaki completed their own 2008 track action with a third and final day of testing at Phillip Island on Friday.

Suzuki and Kawasaki chose the Australian venue due to poor past performances at the high-speed seaside circuit.

Suzuki added that "Capirossi and Vermeulen were able to concentrate on testing new parts and engine strategies at this private test rather than having the pressure of going for outright fastest laps and being compared to other riders on-track."

The opposite argument is that, without the leading riders present, it is difficult to accurately assess exactly how successful the new parts have been.

Nevertheless, Loris Capirossi - fastest of the five riders at the test - was adamant that the prototype version of the 2009 GSV-R was ' definitely better' than the 2008 bike.

The Italian's best lap time at the test was a 1min 30.9sec, which was just 0.071sec faster than his best lap in October's grand prix, set on his way to tenth position, but conditions at the test were described as 'windier and with slightly less track grip'. The fastest lap at the GP was a 1min 30.059sec by Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden.

The main weakness of the 2008 GSV-R was in terms of engine performance and sustaining rear grip. Capirossi believes that clear progress was made in terms of rear grip, but more engine work is required.

"Today we were able to compare the old and new bikes and the 2009 prototype is definitely better, especially when the tyre is worn we can maintain a better lap-time, so this is a good step," said the Italian.

"We still have some work to do - especially to improve the engine still further - but it has been a really positive three days for us. I did more than 200 laps and it has been a really good test.

"The prototype bike is already better than the recent one, but the next version we get to try should be even better because that will have lots of new developments and we will be able to use all the information from this test to improve it even further."

Friday saw Capirossi and Vermeulen conduct two race simulations each, allowing them to compare the 2008 Phillip Island race tyre and the proposed new single spec tyre that all riders will be using in 2009.

Vermeulen set a best lap time 0.2sec slower than Capirossi, but 0.213sec inside his best race lap at his home grand prix, set on his way to 15th position.

"It was a good test and I think I managed to get almost 250 laps done in the three days, which is about 1,100kms on the bike!" said Chris. "We had a lot of new parts from Suzuki to try including, front forks, rear linkages, new frames and swinging arms and we also tested some control tyres from Bridgestone - which look like they will be the spec tyre for next year - and they worked pretty well with the bike straight away.

"We also tested the new engine spec that we had at the Valencia test and that worked pretty well - but I want more steps in the same direction!" added the Australian, confirming that engine performance remains a weakness. "We also had some electronic modifications and with all this we were able to find some good improvements and we were consistently quicker around here than we were in the race.

"We have definitely taken a step forward with the bike and we certainly have a direction with all the parts that we tested here to make significant improvements in next year's tests. I am really looking forward to the first test of next year and being able to use the new stuff that Suzuki will be able to develop from the results we have had here."

The fastest Kawasaki rider at the test was Marco Melandri, who set a best lap time of 1min 31.8sec. That lap time was 0.115sec under the best race lap by a ZX-RR rider in the Australian Grand Prix, indicating that Suzuki and Kawasaki have both made broadly equal progress in ultimate performance.

The first test of 2009 takes place at Sepang in Malaysia from February 5-7.



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