After testing completed at Misano, Suzuki's fledgling MotoGP program decamped to Mugello, to continue the test program started last week. Testing was aimed mainly at confirming the chassis choice made at Misano, and working further on the new fairing and electronics. The test was deemed a success, with Randy De Puniet confirming the main problem the bike now has is rear grip. De Puniet posted a fastest lap of 1'49.260, some 1.6 seconds off the race lap record of 1'47.639 set by Marc Marquez earlier this year, and around half a second slower than Ducati, who have many thousands of testing laps around the circuit.
The press release issued by Suzuki appears below:
SUZUKI MOTOGP CONFIRM DIRECTION AT MUGELLO
Team Suzuki Press Office - September 25.
The Suzuki MotoGP Test Team has completed a positive two-day test at the Mugello circuit in Italy today with more valuable data and more revised settings to move forward from its 2013 test and development programme.
Following-on from last week's three-day test at Misano, test riders Randy De Puniet and Nobuatsu Aoki appraised and made further improvements to the Suzuki's engine - revised for a better overall top-speed - a redesigned cowling to give a higher top-speed, that showed no negative effects under different circuit conditions, along with the team's newly-elected chassis-design and electronics that both provide better traction control and engine brake.
The new cowling was reported to give a better top-speed performance, so it was an improvement and step-forward from the team's initial test of it in Misano. Back-to-back tests with Misano and Mugello also provided more positive data that the machine has improved its braking and corner-entry characteristics; plus the team also found new direction in finding better rear-grip; an area that the Suzuki MotoGP Test Team will look at further-developing during the next few months - and into 2014.
With track temperatures dry on both days - and ranging between 20-36 Degrees - De Puniet put in 67 laps on the opening day and Aoki 10. De Puniet's best lap was a 1'50.080 on Tuesday and today he improved his best-time to 1'49.260 after a total of 53 laps of the 5,245km circuit.
Said De Puniet: "In these two long days we've worked a lot on the electronic-mapping in different situations. We also understand that we need to work more on rear grip. We expected Mugello being a difficult track and from this test we gave a lot of information to the engineers, which they can now work on.
"I'm a little sad that this was the last test for this season, as I've enjoyed riding this bike and working with the Suzuki Factory Team. I hope I will have more opportunities to ride again in the future and to continue improving this bike."
Suzuki MotoGP Test Team Manager Davide Brivio said: "It was another busy test where we again gave good information to our staff. We had some positive confirmation on a few new parts that we had a chance to test in-depth; such as the new frame, the new engine and the new cowling. Of course we also found points that need to be improved and now we have more information, some further directions - and also some homework to do.
"Randy has helped us a lot, even if at some times we've had to ask him for such a big effort between his regular MotoGP races. I would like to thank Randy very much for his contribution in finding strong and weak points of our project. His comments were - and will be - important for the development work we have ahead of us in the coming months. I would also like to thank the Aspar Team that allowed Randy to be available for this testing activity.
"The team staff was also great and I'm happy that we will continue this testing job together next year as well. Now we go back testing to Japan and looking forward to the next opportunity where we will be again on the track with the other strong MotoGP competitors."
Suzuki MotoGP Project Leader Satoru Terada added: "We concluded today's European testing for this year where we visited several circuits finding the weak points of our bike. A fast rider like Randy helped us on understanding better the level of our machine right now and so we can go back to Japan to look for the solutions. We have several directions where we can work-on now and I'm very pleased that we have been able to run for many miles on-track without any trouble on the bike: This is very positive looking at the future of our racing activity."