Team Suzuki Press Office – April 11. Eugene Laverty concluded Friday’s practice sessions at the Spanish Motorland Aragon circuit in a positive mind-set after making headway on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Laverty, initially struggling with set-up on-board the Yoshimura-powered machine, ended the day’s two-sessions stepping-up – in both time and position – to eighth with a lap of 1’58.971 after re-evaluating the Suzuki GSX-R1000’s electronics and chassis balance; and is confident with the bike’s potential for the weekend ahead.
Alex Lowes ended his first experience of the 5,078m Teruel track in 11th position with a time of 2’00.309, despite having only-ever completed 29 laps of the Spanish circuit. The British-rider finished the day frustrated, but determined to improve and his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team is confident that his pace is strong; given his limited track experience.
A warm and sunny Motorland Aragon played host to the opening European action of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, with air temperatures reaching 25°C ahead of the afternoon practice session.
With a similar forecast set for tomorrow, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will use today’s data to evaluate the GSX-Rs performance ahead of the final timed-for-qualifying free practice session at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST). The afternoon’s two all-important Superpole battles will commence at 15:00hrs local time (14:00BST).
“A difficult day, but we expected it to be tough here, and it’s good that we had two dry sessions testing the bike to allow us to improve. We made a good start this afternoon with the feeling on the front but we still need to improve the turn-in. Aragon has a long straight and we are working hard to allow us to keep-up with the Aprilias, but it’s going to be tough. We had a frustrating time at Jerez, with a number of issues that we are working through, but the lap-times are good considering the problems we’re facing. It’s going to be a tough job to keep at the front, but we are confident we can progress as the weekend goes on.”
“My first day at the track, and it’s been quite difficult, but I’m looking forward to sleeping-on-it tonight and making some improvements tomorrow. I’m learning the track quickly, so it’s just a case of getting back out on the Suzuki GSX-R in the morning and continuing the progress we’ve been making so far.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“First day here at Aragon hasn’t gone absolutely to plan, but we were very pleased, particularly on Eugene’s side, to see some big improvements towards the end of the day. We now have a solid base to work on, to allow us to close the gap on the fastest riders before the races on Sunday. We are potentially lacking just a little bit of balance in the bike, the new swingarm has improved certain aspects of the handling, but we need to very carefully-check whether it has caused any negatives elsewhere, and come-out with the best package we possibly can for both riders in the morning.
“Alex is disappointed but he shouldn’t be! He has only spent two 45-minute sessions on his race-bike around this track; compared to the guys who have done thousands in races and tests. With a night’s sleep under his belt, and a careful look at what we can do to improve the bike, I’m sure he’ll make big steps forward tomorrow; and as a team, we are looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”
Aragon – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Free Practice combined times: 1. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’58.180: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’58.417: 3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1’58.575: 4. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’58.579: 5. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’58717: 8. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 1’58.971: 11. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 2’00.309.