Reynolds fastest on GSX-R1000 in BSB tests

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JOHN REYNOLDS proved that he won’t be giving up the British number one plates that he controversially won last year without a fight after setting the fastest time during the first major test of the new-regulation 1000cc BSB superbikes at the Almeria circuit in southern Spain last week.

The champion eased his way into the test, spending the first day getting used to his new bike and the second working on the set-up. It was only during the third day that he was able to eclipse the times of his young team-mate Karl Harris with a personal best of 1:39.1 – faster than the time he set on his Ducati less than 12 months ago.

Harris though did enough to show that he will also be a contender when the series starts at Silverstone in April and he has warned his rivals that there is still more to come from both him and his Suzuki GSX-R1000.

He said: " It’s gone better than I expected. I can make a lot more adjustments on this compared to the supersport bike I rode last year but I’m at the stage now where I’m really happy with it and I’m not making big changes to the bike every time I go out. The handling’s pretty similar to the 600 but the power’s much different and I’m getting better and better every time I ride it. "

Reynolds added: " It’s been a good test. I was miles away to start off with but we’ve put in loads of work and I’ve now got some base settings that work well for me. The bike demands a different riding style to the Ducati. I’m starting to get used to being able to open the throttle halfway round the corner as opposed to the Ducati, which requires you to get it upright before getting the power. "

The Suzuki riders completed over 300 laps between them and, according to team boss Paul Denning, the test was a great success. He said: " At the end of the first day we were just two-tenths off John Crawford’s best time on the GSX-R750 from last year. By the end we were seven-tenths quicker. We’ve surprised even ourselves. Although Almeria has a long main straight the track is quite technical, with a lot of second gear switchbacks. For a bike at the beginning of its development cycle we were very impressed. We’ve tried out a lot of different engine configurations, chassis settings and ECU settings. We’ve also switched from Showa to Ohlins forks and they’ve worked perfectly for us. We’ve still got a few things to try out. Ohlins will be supplying us with some factory forks and we’ll be working with them to develop the rear shock. We’ve also got some engine internals and another gearbox to try, but we’ll have a better base setting when we return here in the new year. "

Despite only managing 20 laps on a Yamaha France R1 featuring a near-standard 2002 engine in a superbike-spec chassis, James Haydon was within a second of Reynolds’ best time. He jumped between the hybrid R1 and the R7 he rode last year and was well impressed with the new bike. He said: " Bearing in mind that this was the first time a 2002 R1 has been on track it was a great success. We had a few little problems when the bike was flat out but the great thing from my point of view is that it is December and we’ve already got the bike running – that’s a position I’ve never been in before. Once we get the parts we need I’m sure that this will be the bike to beat. "

McElnea added: " We now have a feel for the bike and we’ve seen the Suzuki in action and it didn’t look that good. Simon’s experience of working with Ohlins has been invaluable to us and he’s helped with the set-up of the R1. James is also confident that the chassis is like that of the R7 and even though the power was way down on power we got exactly what we wanted from the test. "

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff