Suzuki, which won two MotoGP races last year, has enjoyed one of the strongest 2020 pre-seasons of any manufacturer with Alex Rins and Joan Mir consistently fast throughout testing in Sepang and Qatar.

The GSX-RR's chassis and engine developments have been met with approval by both riders, while the new Michelin rear tyre seems to have played more into the hands of the corner-speed reliant inline four-cylinders from Suzuki and Yamaha.

The final night in Qatar, venue for the season opener on March 8, saw Rins complete a competitive race simulation on his way to the third fastest lap time (+0.210s) behind only the Yamahas of Maverick Vinales and Franco Morbidelli.

“I’m so happy; I was first on day one, second on day two, and third on day three!" said Rins, who - along with Vinales - has been high up on most riders' list of pre-season favourites.

"Sincerely, we tested everything we needed to, and the team worked so well. We’ve taken a step forward compared with last year and I feel confident, at least for the first race.

"I like to take things step-by-step, so I’m not thinking long term at the moment, but I’m certainly ready for FP1 in less than two weeks! The Top 15 riders are really close, so I think it will be an exciting Grand Prix.”

After an injury-interrupted debut season, Mir seems primed for a strong second year in the premier-class, having been a close match for team-mate and double 2019 winner Rins throughout testing.

“It’s been a successful test; I improved my lap times and my pace each day and I feel really happy with the bike," said Mir, who was sixth quickest on the final night. "Now we just have to continue like this because everything is going in the right direction.

"We’re really close to the top guys and we have strong pace, but in the race it can be a different story. The team have done an incredible job, so let’s see what happens!”

A new chassis was one of the last major parts to be tried at the Qatar test, with technical manager Ken Kawauchi saying 'everything is in place' for the racing season.

“We were able to confirm important things to do with the engine spec and the chassis and now everything is in place for us to start racing with this package," he said. "I’m really looking forward to the first round!”

“The testing has gone well, and we feel positive because we followed our plan to create and confirm the final package - but the true test will be when we start racing!" added team manager Davide Brivio.

"Now we can homologate the parts that we’ve confirmed and begin preparing for the start of the season.

"Both our riders have shown really good pace, so we’re happy with that, especially as it was only testing. Both Alex and Joan are feeling relaxed and well prepared.”

Rins finished fourth and Mir eighth in last year's Qatar race, where the 2019 GSX-RR struggled against the top speed of the Ducatis and Hondas.

 

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