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Voltcom Crescent Suzuki Progresses Electronics

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Team Suzuki Press Office – April 10. Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet concluded a promising World Superbike practice at Motorland Aragon today after their first 90 minutes of track action utilising the team’s newly-homologated electronics package – this first European event of 2015 being the deadline for implementation of the system under this season’s new regulations.

Having planned to use the first free practice as an exploratory session for the new Magneti Marelli electronics, Lowes completed 11 laps of the Spanish circuit, re-entering the pits twice and spending half of the 45-minute session working in the garage with his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team. Returning to the track for the closing minutes, the British racer seemed much-more comfortable with his GSX-R1000, setting a 1’52.638 on his final revolution to finish the morning in third position.

The team’s development and investigation continued in a similar vein for the afternoon as Lowes completed the day’s 22 laps, improving on his earlier time to finish sixth with a 1’52.309 and positive of more to come as the weekend progresses.

De Puniet also used the day’s two sessions to evaluate his Suzuki’s new controls, initially conducting 10 laps, he completed the morning practice in 15th with a 1’55.560 and a solid understanding for the machine’s future progression. The afternoon saw the Frenchman reduce his time by two seconds, 1’53.178 his best lap of the day, leaving him 14th heading into Saturday’s final timed-for-qualifying free practice.

A cold and windy start gave way to beautifully-clear and sunny conditions as the Motorland Aragon circuit hosted the opening World Superbike practices of the European season. The ambient 20°C temperatures heated the track to a high of 39°C as Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea topped the times and claimed the provisional pole position.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s third and final timed-for-qualifying practice will take place at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST) tomorrow with 30 minutes of free practice scheduled for 12:30hrs (11:30BST). The afternoon’s Superpole action gets underway at 15:00hrs (14:00BST).

Alex Lowes:

“We always knew it was going to be a difficult weekend with the brand-new electronics and we ran the whole day without the traction control but it’s been good. I’m very optimistic that if everything works we are going to be competitive again it’s just a case of when, whether it’s tomorrow, the next day or the next round we don’t know. We have a lot of work to do and we’ve hardly done any laps today so we’re feeling very much on the back foot and it’s testing really for us but we’ll do what we can and keep moving forward to achieve the results.”

Randy de Puniet:

“Today was not easy but we knew that before we started, and this morning we had a few problems with the throttle connection so I finished 3.5 seconds off the pace. This afternoon began with a struggle but from the middle of the session we had a good improvement; it was not enough but they are only 45 minute sessions so it is very short! I know I can improve my suspension and chassis feeling and we have good information for tomorrow. Currently I am 1.9 seconds off – and one second to the top five – so we will see where we can reduce the gap. I really want to be inside the top-10 tomorrow morning so I will push and I think it’s possible. We have a lot of work to do, we knew this race was not going to be easy, but I need a good result after my first two rounds. Everyone is working really hard and I think if we continue the improvement seen from the beginning until today, we can be close to the top-five and this is a good target for me.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“We anticipated a tough day here in Aragon, our first event with the complete new Championship-homologated electronics system. The deadline was this event so it had to be on the bike a little earlier than the development process would have liked! The team has been working tirelessly to get the settings as race-ready as they could possibly be but we suffered a little bit of bad luck today with some components not talking to each other in the way we would have liked. The riders have kept their heads down and to be relatively competitive, given the issues we faced, and demonstrates that there is a lot of potential to move forward and we hope to do that starting tomorrow.”

Aragon – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Free Practice Combined Times: 1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) 1’51.234: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.145: 3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +0.348: 4. Xavi Fores (Ducati) +0.766: 5. Leon Haslam (Aprilia) +0.862: 6. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +1.075. 14. Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +1.944.