Kevin Schwantz Tests Suzuki MotoGP Bike, Randy De Puniet Matches Pace Of Open Bikes
Suzuki's MotoGP test team took advantage of the presence of the MotoGP paddock at Austin to plan a test directly after the Grand Prix of the Americas. Under the watchful eye of team manager Davide Brivio, the team planned to have test rider Randy De Puniet put in three days of testing at a circuit the team had not yet tested the bike at, in a bid to gather more data ahead of their return to the series in 2015.
Unfortunately for Suzuki, very heavy hail and thunderstorms made testing extremely difficult on Monday, leaving the track very dirty and much slower than it had been for Sunday's race. But testing resumed in earnest on Tuesday, with Randy De Puniet running through testing electronics and another back-to-back test of the two chassis options Suzuki has been working on. De Puniet racked up a total of 56 laps on Tuesday, eventually putting in a lap of 2'06.41. That is roughly on pace with the Open class Honda RCV1000R machines, though De Puniet faced much worse track conditions than the Open class machines due to the aftermath of the weather.
Also present at the test was Kevin Schwantz, the legendary American rider putting in 11 laps on the bike. Schwantz' best time was a 2'12.75, some way off the pace, but a respectable enough time for a fifty-year-old with only a few laps to get up to speed. Schwantz was also riding the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, preparing for the Suzuka 8 Hour race in July.
In a separate press release, Suzuki also issued a video containing questions put to Davide Brivio over the team's test schedule. The video has been overtaken by events, however, as the video was shot at the Sepang tests, before the last-minute rule changes which saw factories which did not win a race in 2013 handed extra concessions.
Testing concludes on Wednesday. Below is the press release issued after testing on Tuesday:
SCHWANTZ JOINS SUZUKI MOTOGP AT AUSTIN TEST
Team Suzuki Press Office – April 16.
Suzuki’s former World 500cc GP Champion Kevin Schwantz joined the Suzuki MotoGP Test Team for its test at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas this week.
The 1993 World Champion, who last raced a MotoGP machine in 2006, completed 11 laps of the 5,513m circuit with a best lap-time of 2’12.75.
Schwantz, who also tested the Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike team’s GSX-R1000s, said: “I went on the MotoGP machine after riding the GSX-R1000 Superbike and it felt like going from a 500cc to a 250cc bike; the MotoGP machine is so small and compact! The bike turns, accelerates, goes fast; it does everything and I had fun and really enjoyed it.
“With this bike you have power and braking so you brake and accelerate and the bike does all the rest. I think Suzuki should race now - the sooner the better! You can test a lot but in the race you really understand.
“After having ridden the MotoGP machine, I now appreciate much-more the GSX-R and I want to continue to work on that now to prepare for my race at Suzuka in July. So tomorrow I will only ride the GSX-R.”
With track and air temperatures much cooler than the weekend’s MotoGP second round – and with Monday’s opening day hit by heavy rain and dirty track conditions – Suzuki MotoGP Test rider Randy De Puniet completed 56 laps with a best lap-time of 2’06.41. The team spent a lot of time in the morning session testing new chassis settings and also adjusting the gearbox for the team’s first test on this new-for-them circuit.
Said De Puniet: “This was a new track for Suzuki but also I have not ridden the bike since February. We spend some time changing the settings and the gearbox ratios, then we continued to compare two different frames and we found again that the best one here was the one we choose in Sepang. And we confirmed it again that this is more-stable in the corner entry. In the afternoon we tested different electronic maps.
It has been not bad as first day here and I’m confident we can improve tomorrow. Hopefully the track will be cleaner.”
Suzuki MotoGP Test Team Manager Davide Brivio said: “A positive day on a completely new circuit for us. One of the main targets is to continue the development of the new electronics and also to collect useful information on this track for next year when we will be racing.
“We have done that today but also we could work on bike settings and chassis comparison. The lap-time is not bad for the first day and we are looking forward to improving tomorrow hoping that the temperature can go up a bit and the track will be cleaner.
“It was also very emotional to have Kevin Schwantz - everybody’s hero - riding our bike here. He was quite fast considering the conditions, so we’d like to thank Kevin for this gift!”