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Feb 7, 2014

​Yoshimura Suzuki Wraps Up Four Days Of AMA Pro Superbike Pre-Season Testing

Roger Hayden (right) with his new Crew Chief Davey Jones (left). Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

The three-rider Yoshimura Suzuki AMA Pro Superbike team of Martin Cardenas, Chris Clark and Roger Hayden just wrapped up four days of testing in the western United States, and the testing was productive, according to the team.

“We did one test [January 28-29] in Las Vegas [Las Vegas Classic Course] and one test [February 5-6] at Chuckwalla [Valley Raceway],” Yoshimura Suzuki Team Manager Peter Doyle told Roadracingworld.com Friday. “We just wanted to get the guys back on the bikes and test for the new regulations. We’ve gone back to the old camshafts, added 10 pounds of weight, some new suspension components. The biggest test for us is we’re going to be using the new U.S.-made front tire this year. That was the major focus of our test was working on bike settings for the new tire.”

Asked if the switching to the new U.S.-made front tire (the KR448 in the new 120/70R17 size as opposed to the 125/80R17 size of the previous KR448 and the 120/70R17 KR106 UK-made front slick in the 302 compound), caused them many headaches, Doyle said, “It’s different. It’s very, very different. And that’s only to be expected. We’ve had the 302 front tires here for a number of years now. About 90% of the riders use it at 90% of the racetracks, so guys are just riding on that tire all the time and they get used to it. Then you throw them something different it takes them a while to get used to it. But they’re getting there. At the end of the test they were turning decent lap times, not quite on last year’s pace, but still decent.”

A new rider, new tires, new technical rules and new build specs weren’t the only things different for Yoshimura Suzuki, as the team has restructured in preparation for Doyle stepping down from his Team Manager role for personal reasons following the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway.

“We’re restructuring our team,” said Doyle. “Daisuke [Hashimoto] will be Martin’s Crew Chief. So he was with Chris [Clark] and he’ll take over with Martin. Then Chris’ mechanic Rhett [Lougheed] will be Chris’ new Crew Chief, and one of Martin’s mechanics, Davey Jones, will be Roger’s Crew Chief.”

Asked how he would describe their recent tests, Doyle said, “Productive. We definitely learned a few things. It’s hard for us to judge where we’re at because the front tire’s different, and we’ve added 10 pounds and we’ve taken a couple of horsepower away from the bike compared to last year. So it’s very hard to judge, and we don’t want to keep swapping back to components from last year because we can’t run them. So we’re reluctant to do that, especially when it comes to the front tire.”

Doyle said his team is currently overhauling the GSX-R1000s used in the recent tests and finishing building a second Superbike for each rider. Once that is done, the team will head to Las Vegas Classic Course again to do a one-day shakedown test before heading to the AMA Pro Superbike season-opener March 13-15 at Daytona International Speedway.