Suter issued the following press release after this week's MotoGP test at Sepang, reflecting on the test. Fortunately for the readers, the quotes from Colin Edwards have not been too heavily redacted, and still make for an entertaining and informative read. Here's the press release:
MotoGP tests in Malaysia: Colin Edwards impressed with progress on Suter BMW
At the first official MotoGP pre-season testing session in Malaysia, Suter BMW rider Colin Edwards was delighted with the latest developments on his new bike. Apart from the first of the three track days, where a mismatch between a sensor and the electronic control unit caused a temporary failure of the data recording system, the Suter BMW ran like clockwork and impressed the rider of "Claiming Rule" Team NGM Mobile Forward Racing with plenty of power and topspeed on the fast Sepang circuit, with smooth throttle control, good handling and with an efficient traction control and slipper clutch system. Only a persistent chattering problem, that most of the MotoGP riders experienced with the new generation Bridgestone tyres and that was especially disturbing on the Suter BMW machine, stopped Edwards from further improving his lap times. With a best lap of 2.04,722, the "Texas Tornado" still managed to cut the gap to the field of the twelve MotoGP factory prototype riders down to 2.5 seconds - not enough yet to be fully competitive, but an encouraging sign of improvement.
"They've done a really good job with the bike. I got behind Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden and a couple of other guys just to see what kind of power we have and surprisingly, the bike is pretty fast. It is not as fast as the factory prototypes, but it's got some speed. Engine and speed are not the problem, the BMW is very healthy in the horsepower department! At our first roll-out test in December at Jerez, we had some electronic issues that they solved and now I was really comfortable with how they smoothened out the power band. That part I am happy about", said Edwards. "What we are struggling with are the new Bridgestone tyres they brought in for safety reasons. This new rear tyre is a lot better, especially for traction and for safety on the first few laps. But we have changed the rear and we haven't change the front. My past experience with Michelin is that whenever you increase the con tact patch on the rear, you have to change the front tyre as well, or you run into a chatter problem. At Jerez, we didn't have a chatter problem. But now, I have the worst chatter I have ever had in my life. I have zero corner speed. Without that problem, I could go 1.5 seconds faster and ride in the 2.03's very easily. We tried everything to fix it, softer and harder settings, different links and geometries, more than I ever tried with the Yamaha, but nothing made a difference. My feeling is that we need another modification on the chassis. The swingarm is great, the whole rear end of the bike is good, but the front part feels a bit too stiff!"
"With the 2011 tyres, our bike worked very well, but with the 2012 tyres we have chassis vibrations", said Alessandro Giussani, MotoGP project leader at Suter Racing Technology. "Colin is happy with the rest of the bike. After our short test at Jerez in December, chassis and swingarm were completely re-built to accommodate a larger 24-litre fuel tank. We also modified the throttle body for smoother throttle control. Bosch brought new and further refined electronics and we found a good base set-up for all our components almost immediately, which is very encouraging. We now have to concentrate on finding a solution for the chatter problems before the next test!"
"We fixed many teething problems of our new bike since our December test session, but with the introduction of the new Bridgestone tyres, we ran into a new problem that we have to address", said Eskil Suter, CEO of Suter Racing Technology. "But that's racing - we never thought it was going to be easy to compete on the highest level of motorcycle racing. Luckily, we have still more than two months of development and testing time before the first race. With the expertise and experience of our engineers, I have no doubt we can solve this issue as well!"
MotoGP Official Test Sepang / MAL:
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Honda 1:59.607 min.
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 2:00.198 min.
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 2:00.256 min.
15. Colin Edwards (USA) Suter-BMW 2:04.722 min.