Rizla Suzuki continued their winter development programme with three days of testing at Calafat in Spain – their first chance to run on the Pirelli tyres they will race in British Superbikes this year.
High winds on the third and final day prevented Tom Sykes and Atsushi Watanabe, bettering their pace from yesterday but they still made progress with the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K8’s.
Tom Sykes completed 59 laps on track running a consistently fast pace. He worked his way through a number of shock absorber specifications and chassis geometry changes.
Although no slouch off the start line, Sykes also spent time practicing his starts and getting used to the launch control on his Rizla Suzuki.
“I’ve got faster over the three days and I have a good feel for the bike,” enthused Sykes.
“I’m really happy with everything. We made some changes to the settings just to see how the bike reacted, so it has been very useful.
“If the wind had dropped I think I would have bettered my own lap record which I set at the previous test here in December.”
Atsushi Watanabe made improvements on the final day too - despite a run-in with local wild life which saw him hitting a bird at 150mph!
He completed 61 laps and upped his pace to be within 0.4secs of his team-mate’s super-fast lap time. He also improved his overall time from the December test by a total of 0.8secs.
Watanabe said: “It all very positive. I expect Pirelli tyre be difficult to control but they ok.
“My Rizla Suzuki and tyres worked well together. On one of my laps I hit little bird, which give me big shock! My shoulder is little sore from the impact but I ok.”
Team Manager Jack Valentine was thrilled with how well the test went and is looking forward to continuing the hard work at Al Carras next week.
Jack Valentine said: “The plan is to take what we have learned at Calafat and take it to Al Carras and see how it works there.
“We have a base setting and we will soon see how it works on a different type of track. Al Carras is fast and flowing, it has some very quick corners which will test our settings.
“If it does work then we are in the ball park and it will just need a tweak here and there to get the GSX-R1000s set-up.”
Al Carras is further inland and Valentine is hoping that the good weather holds for Rizla Suzuki to continue its test plans next week.