Kawasaki Racing Team riders Garry McCoy and Andrew Pitt slashed their previous best times on their first two days of testing at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia, where they are currently lapping alongside Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts and John Hopkins. Small improvements on the chassis and suspension settings of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP racer made all the difference in the bike´s handling on the exit of the turns, with further improvements being expected from a new chassis featuring an adjustable swing arm pivot.
Japanese test rider Akira Yanagawa also rode to his best Sepang lap time so far, after having solved chattering problems on his Ninja ZX-RR. German Alex Hofmann continued his task of Dunlop tyre testing aboard a previous prototype of the Ninja ZX-RR with carburettors instead of the new fuel-injected version, concentrating on the best possible input for tyre manufacturer Dunlop rather than the chase for the best lap time around the fast and challenging Sepang circuit.
McCoy clocked a best lap of 2.06,55 after 39 laps, almost two seconds quicker than his best effort during the race there last October riding the Yamaha YZR500. After 44 laps Pitt had posted a best of 2.06,80 – over three seconds quicker than his qualifying lap for the same race, his first appearance on the ZX-RR.
Team Suzuki boss Garry Taylor has revealed his delight at the early progress made by the factory squad in private tests at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia, although he insists that there remains much work to be done on the 2003 evolution model GSV-R. It is the first time the updated version of the four-stroke MotoGP racer has taken to the track at the hands of riders Kenny Roberts and John Hopkins, and Taylor says the team have been encouraged by what they have seen so far.
`We had a full day of dry conditions on Monday and we got through an astonishing amount of work on the whole bike,´ said Taylor. `This is really a shakedown test for the first version of the 2003 machine, and the bike we go racing with at the start of the season will look nothing like it, but we are very pleased with what we have seen so far. There are a lot of things to test and some hard work ahead so it is too early to say anything else.´
The squad were hit by torrential rain on the second day of the test, although Hopkins took the opportunity to get some wet laps under his belt after contesting the whole of last season on the two-stroke Yamaha YZR500. Team Suzuki will take a day off on Wednesday but will resume testing at Sepang on Thursday and Friday.
Is it weird in here, or is it just me?