Jerez MotoGP: Suzuki must improve, says factory boss

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Suzuki MotoGP boss Paul Denning has admitted that the poor early performance of the 2009 factory GSV-R has been the biggest disappointment of his time at the helm of the Japanese factory team.

Suzuki looked like emerging as the major surprise of 2009 after Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen produced a series of impressive performances in pre-season testing.

Capirossi was third in Sepang back in early February and third again during the final winter test session in Jerez.

But the new GSV-R has failed to live up to pre-season optimism in two frustrating races in Qatar and Japan.

Suzuki has yet to register a top six finish in 2009 with Vermeulen seventh in the season’s opening race in Qatar, and Italian veteran Capirossi equalling that result last weekend at the Twin Ring Motegi.

Denning told MCN: “I’ve not been as disappointed with any results over the last four years as I have at the last two races.

“Whilst the bike was inside the top ten, it is not anywhere near our potential and the point is not really the position but the fact that we have been some distance in terms of time off the win.

“We are not where we should be and we’ve got to look at that. I think the important thing at the moment is not for us to panic and look to fix things that aren’t wrong, but optimise the things that could be better.

“They have been two extremely strange race weekends. The condition change in Qatar on race day caught a lot of people out and seemed to impact on us a lot more than others.

“And in Motegi I think we had a reasonably competitive chance of a top five with Chris, but a technical fault he had made that impossible.

“At the moment for us the finishing position is not really the issue, it is just to show our potential and for the first couple of races the guys have had one hand behind their back. We need to translate testing potential into racing results.”

Denning said that the new GSV-R, while a vast improvement on last year’s struggling V4, is too susceptible to changes in track condition and temperature.

“At the end of practice in Qatar we were quite happy and the same as of Friday in Motegi. But then the result didn’t materialise.

“Our bike needs to be a bit more optimised on its setting for us to get the best out of it.

“Maybe the Yamaha has a wider scope of setting. We seem to have a slightly narrower window than the others to get the bike working well and that is something we need to address.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt