Sepang test preview: Suzuki hopeful on improved engine performance

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Suzuki’s factory MotoGP duo Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi will be hoping further engine upgrades will help them threaten the leading times at this week’s Sepang test.

Suzuki engineers have been working tirelessly through the testing ban on improving engine performance, particularly concentrating development on top speed and mid-range acceleration.

The GSV-R pairing were buoyed by an impressive last outing at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia when they tested a raft of new parts including chassis, bodywork and V4 motor.

And factory team boss Paul Denning is hopeful that the GSV-R will prove more competitive when the MotoGP field tests for three days in Sepang from tomorrow (Thursday).

Denning said confidence was after the Phillip Island test, which claims is the most positive since he took charge of the British-based squad in 2006.

“The Phillip Island test was the best I have seen in terms of what we got achieved.

“Chris did 1200ks on the three days and every single pit exit was testing something and verifying something and giving us clear direction. We got through a lot of really good work and most importantly improve the bike significantly.

“The Phillip Island test was an encouraging test and we were considerably quicker than the Kawasaki, although unfortunately that was our only benchmark. But having said that we had struggled previously against everything at Phillip Island.

“The focus for Sepang is to see if we have improved engine performance further based on the information gained in Australia. Fingers crossed that is the case because in Japan you have only got bench data from the end of November to the start of February.

“The bench data looks promising but at the moment it is a question of not trying to over expect but hope that the progress has continued. If we can find a little but more outright grunt from the motor we will be in a much stronger position next year than we were this.

“The engine development is now priority for 2009. The steps that the new engine has already given are exactly in the right direction, but we just need more of that basically.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt