Mackenzie says Sauber is fastest he’s ever ridden

Published: 21 October 2001

Niall Mackenzie reckons the Sauber four-stroke GP bike is the fastest bike he's ever ridden. The triple British superbike champion and former GP star believes the Sauber could surprise a lot of people.

He was speaking after riding the Sauber in its first proper shakedown test at the Shah Alam circuit in Malaysia.

Mackenzie spent five days at the former GP near venue in Kuala Lumpur putting the GP1 through its paces.

"I can honestly say this is the fastest bike I've ever plonked myself on. The engine is absolutely unbelievable. The power is so strong. It is easily a 200 horsepower engine. I was quite surprised though because the power is still really usable. One of my big concerns was the throttle response and how it was going to react with so much power. But that wasn't a problem.

"It's definitely faster than a current 500 GP bike, no question. It has got all the horsepower that a 500 has got but with a power band twice as big, "

Having given the three-cylinder 990cc machine its first public outing with two special demonstration laps at the Malaysian GP at Sepang, Mackenzie got down to the serious business of showing potential teams who may be interested in leasing Sauber engines in the future that the bike will be competitive.

With so more horsepower on tap, Mackenzie said the bike still handled well in a chassis built by British specialists Harris Performance.

Mackenzie is going to remain heavily involved in the development of the Sauber, which will not be raced in 2002.

The bike is likely to be tested again in December.