Feb 21, 2003
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From a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:<BR><BR>RADICAL NEW SUZUKI MAKES PUBLIC DEBUT AT JEREZ<BR><BR>Team Suzuki Press Office. February 21st 2003<BR><BR>The radical new Suzuki GSV-R MotoGP prototype made its first public appearance at the Spanish GP circuit of Jerez today, meeting the opposition for the first time at the open-to-all IRTA test sessions.<BR><BR>The all-new bike, still in the early stages of development and at only its third test, proved close to the overall pace, but with some ground to make up before the start of the season on April 4.<BR><BR>But the mood of team and riders remained positive, with two more days at Jerez, plus two more European tests to go before the return to Japan, and yet more testing before the first race.<BR><BR>"It's an interesting weekend," said team manager Garry Taylor. "Some of our major opposition is here, though not all of it, and it's a chance to assess the potential of the new bike.<BR><BR>"There is still a lot of work to do, and a lot more testing to come. We're in this for the long haul," he concluded.<BR><BR>The new GSV-R, code-named XRE1, uses last year's first ever MotoGP four-stroke prototype as a basis, but with sweeping changes from front to rear. The new machine retains the DOHC 990cc V4 format, but with major revisions to the fuel-injected unit, including a wider 65-degree Vee angle (from 60 degrees). The chassis is also considerably changed, clothed in minimalist carbon-fibre bodywork with a sophisticated aerodynamic profile to the nose.<BR><BR>These are part of a redesigned package offering the potential for major improvement, warmly greeted by both riders – former World Champion Kenny Roberts Jr. and Suzuki new boy John Hopkins – when they saw the new bike for the first time in Malaysia in January.<BR><BR><BR>KENNY ROBERTS: LOOKING FOR THE BASE<BR>We're still looking for a good base setting at this time, then we can move the bike forward from there. At the moment, it's a bit like when you're lost, and you feel really hopeless … then suddenly you see a signpost, and suddenly everything's okay again. We're looking for that signpost now, but I'm sure we'll find it.<BR><BR><BR>JOHN HOPKINS: LEARNING TO CRAWL<BR>There's a long way to go, but also a long way before the start of the season. Today I did find a good set-up, and that gives us a basis to improve, so we can work round the fine-tuning from there. At the moment we're learning to crawl, before we can walk.<BR><BR><BR><BR>