Feb 15, 2002
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From a press release:<BR><BR>OPTIMISM AS NEW SUZUKI PASSES SECOND TEST<BR><BR>TELEFONICA MOVISTAR SUZUKI left Australia's Eastern Creek circuit today in optimistic mood after completing the second round of tests of the all-new V4 four-stroke XRE0 - and measuring steady progress in the high-pressure task of readying the first prototype for racing.<BR><BR>Team riders Kenny Roberts Jr. and Sete Gibernau were joined by Japanese factory tester Yukio Kagayama, a full complement of factory engineers, and by the first tranche of technical and electronic revisions to the rorty new MotoGP four-stroke racer.<BR><BR>These came in response to feedback from the first test sessions at Sepang the previous week. Now the team will travel from the Sydney circuit to Phillip Island south of Melbourne, venue of the Australian GP, to continue the development process.<BR><BR>Although second factory rider Akira Ryo had returned home ill after only one of the three days at Eastern Creek, and the first day was spoiled by rain, the remaining riders were able to make significant progress at the demanding circuit, last used for the Australian GP in 1996.<BR><BR>"In spite of the first day's rain, the tests went well, and everybody in the team is still very upbeat. The bike is very fast, sounds fantastic, and is getting better all the time," said team manager Garry Taylor. "The riders and the engineers are on a fast learning curve.<BR><BR>"At the same time, we are very conscious that this is still an early prototype and we have an awful lot of work to do before it is a fully refined and competitive racer. Time is short, and the first race only weeks away," he said.<BR><BR>"Our hopes for the new bike are high, but we have to keep working hard to get it there. You could say we're cautiously optimistic," he added.<BR><BR>The Suzuki XRE0 was originally planned to race for the first time in 2003, with a full year of development during 2002. The project was put forward by a full year after the promise shown in early bench and track tests.<BR><BR><BR>KENNY ROBERTS - BIT BY BIT<BR><BR>"Eastern Creek is a very demanding circuit, with hard braking, up-and-down corners, fast sections, and lots of bumps. We found out things about the bike that didn't show up at Sepang - and bit by bit we're solving the problems, then going to find the next one. That's development. It's interesting, and exciting, but we have a ways to go yet."<BR><BR><BR>SETE GIBERNAU - PROGRESS IS POSITIVE<BR><BR>"I always try to emphasise the positive - and there are a lot of positives about the new bike. One is the machine. It has a lot of potential, and we're digging deeper into it all the time. Another is the atmosphere, and the attitude of the team and the engineers. We're all pulling together, and that's the way to move forward rapidly."