Suzuki’s MotoGP team completed two days of testing this week at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. Heavy rain at the 2.9-mile, Honda-owned circuit cut short Tuesday’s test, but rider Randy De Puniet was able to complete more laps on Wednesday, posting a best time of 1:48.60—Yamaha factory rider Jorge Lorenzo’s pole-winning time at last year’s Japanese GP was 1:44.96. The Frenchman crashed twice in the morning session but was able to continue riding in the afternoon.
De Puniet evaluated two new chassis, one of which the team will continue to develop. Suzuki’s other tester, 41-year-old Nobuatsu Aoki, who began his GP career in 1990, completed five laps toward the end of the day. “We were not so lucky with the weather,” said De Puniet. “Yesterday, we stayed in the pit all day. The track was very hot today, so grip wasn’t very good. We found a good direction with one of the chassis, with better tire contact feeling and corner entry. Rain came before the end of the test, and I couldn’t try to improve my lap time. Overall, we are very satisfied.”
Suzuki MotoGP Test Team Manager Davide Brivio
Team Manager Davide Brivio was also pleased with the results of the test. “Today was another good day in our development program,” he said. “We had a chance to try different tests with various settings, and we tried to better understand the bike’s behavior in different conditions. We chose one of the frames, which we will develop further in future tests. In the meantime, our engineers have taken some good information away with them for the next stage of development.”
Two-time MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner also attended the two-day Motegi test, completing 53 laps on a factory Honda RC213V. The Australian, who retired from racing last year, squashed rumors of a return to competition. “Today, the weather improved a lot. We were able to get some good track time. It was great to see the team, and it felt really good to get back on the bike after nine months. I’m happy with how the test went, but it doesn’t change my mind about wildcards; this is not something I am planning to do.” HRC VP Shuhei Nakamoto said Stoner may later test Honda’s MotoGP production racer.
Next stop for Suzuki will be the official IRTA tests at Misano World Circuit in Italy, September 16-18.
Suzuki MotoGP Test – Randy de Puniet
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