Team Suzuki Press Office – May 13. Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes remained at the Imola circuit in Italy following the weekend’s eni World Superbike Championship fourth round for a day of official testing on Monday, which saw both riders make considerable improvements to finish in the top six.
Laverty utilised the full six-hours of track-time to test new strategies needed to combat the engine braking issues highlighted at the weekend. The end of the day’s second session saw the Irishman make significant progress with his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, posting a fastest time of 1’47.550 after 73 laps of the high-speed circuit, to claim fourth place in the combined times.
Lowes continued his consistent development in Italy, completing 72 laps on his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki machine. Running in the top-three for the majority of the day, the British racer finished the final practice sixth – his competitive time of 1’47.628 set in the morning’s opening session.
It was a cooler day than had been seen over the race weekend, the threat of rain held off until the evening, allowing the riders an uninterrupted day of testing around the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Honda’s Jonathan Rea continued his double-race-winning form to post the fastest time of the day from the 21 riders taking part.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki now returns to the UK to evaluate the data recorded and prepare for the team’s home race at Donington Park on Sunday May 25th.
“We had six hours on track today but it took until the final half hour to make a real breakthrough with the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki. I’m really proud of how hard my entire crew worked this weekend. We never gave up and finally we found some light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll aim to carry this momentum on to our home round at Donington and get involved in the fight for the podium.”
“We had a good day of testing here in Italy after what was already a positive race weekend. Some good progress was made with the chassis-setting in the morning session which improved the GSX-R1000 and we then worked really hard on the engine-braking strategy in the afternoon so hopefully we will use it to good effect at Donington. Now it’s time to get my head down in preparation for my home race – I can’t wait!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Thanks to the riders and crew for their hard work in Imola, which continued on Monday. It was very positive to have this test straight after a tough race day, and to make significant improvements. Especially for Eugene, we didn’t get close to the sweet-spot for the races and therefore the test became very important, and we ended up with a better GSX-R and a more-confident rider. Alex also did a great job – very fast in the morning with the normal race specification engine and strategies, and then very consistent and professional in the afternoon with a completely new engine-brake strategy that, in the end, worked well and will be important in the next races.”
Imola – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Official Test Combined Times: 1. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’47.225: 2. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +0.085: 3. Toni Elias (Aprilia) +0.158: 4. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +0.325: 5. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) +0.364: 6. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +0.403.