Vermeulen: 'PI test vital'

1 of 1

Chris Vermeulen reckons the acid test of how far Suzuki has progressed with its new 800cc GSV-R will come at the next two tests in Australia and Qatar.

Phillip Island was the worst track for Suzuki last season and only rain in the historic first flag-to-flag GP saved Vermeulen and John Hopkins from an embarrassing day at the office with the Aussie recording a brilliant maiden podium.

Qatar was also a nightmare as the GSV-R 990cc suffered at least 13 engine failures, the most famous hitting Hopkins in the race, who then kicked his stricken machine in frustration.

Looking ahead to Suzuki’s next two outings in Phillip Island and at the Losail  International circuit in Doha, after a brilliant performance in Malaysia recently.

He said: “Phillip Island last year was really difficult for us until it rained. We learned a hell of a lot at Phillip Island last year and it really showed a lot of areas on our bike that were worse than we even thought they were. 

“So Suzuki have been working towards that but we still think it’s going to be one of the most difficult tracks for us. Especially engine character wise and the way our engine produces the power in the high-speed corners when the bike is right on its side it seems to be aggressive on the tyre. 

“We are trying to help that. If we can leave Phillip Island competitive then I think we will be in a lot better state. Sepang has always been a good track for Bridgestone, John always flies there and there’s no doubt about that. 

“The next one is Phillip Island and I think we will learn a lot there. Also Qatar because that is another one of those tracks that if we leave the test there doing well we will be in good shape.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt