Three-Day MotoGP Test Concludes At Phillip Island

Three-Day MotoGP Test Concludes At Phillip Island

© 2008, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

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Circuit: Phillip Island Date: 28/11/2008 KAWASAKI CONCLUDE SUCCESSFUL PHILLIP ISLAND TEST The Kawasaki Racing Team today concluded a successful three-day test at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, with the three riders clocking up more than 150 laps of the 4.445km track, despite less than ideal weather conditions. Overnight rain had left the track damp in the morning, and while the infamous Phillip Island wind was quick to dry the track out, it also lowered the track temperature significantly, which caught out test and development rider Olivier Jacque. The former 250cc world champion had a big crash late on in the afternoon, after highsiding himself on a cold rear tyre at the right-hand Hayshed turn. Jacque was uninjured in the crash, but admitted on his return to the pit box that it was a bit of a ‘scary moment’. Marco Melandri continued to work with his new crew on the set-up of his Ninja ZX-RR today, as well as doing some long runs around the 4.455km Phillip Island circuit in support of Bridgestone’s test and development programme. The 26-year-old Italian, who completed 79 laps, made changes to the chassis and suspension settings on his Ninja ZX-RR, and declared himself happy with the results, after setting a best time of 1’31.8 at the end of the third and final day of testing. John Hopkins also declared himself happy with the test, after lapping the Phillip Island circuit consistently during his long runs for Bridgestone today, despite having to adapt his riding style to compensate for the injuries that are still causing him some discomfort on the bike. Hopkins will fly straight back to the United States, where he’ll undergo surgery on Wednesday to remove the metal plates from his left foot, ankle and hand that have caused him so many problems this season. The 25-year-old Anglo-American will then spend four weeks recuperating from the operation, before starting a punishing fitness regime to ensure he is fighting fit ahead of Kawasaki’s pre-season test programme. The annual six-week winter test ban comes into force from 1st December, with the result that the Kawasaki Racing Team will not be able to continue their development testing programme until they return to the Phillip Island circuit in January 2009. However, the data collected during these three days at the Australian circuit will allow Kawasaki’s engineers in Japan to continue the development of the 2009 Ninja ZX-RR throughout the test ban period. John Hopkins #21 – 50 Laps – Best Lap 1’32.1 “Today was more positive for me. The injuries weren’t such a big problem, although I had to adapt my riding style because I still can’t put any pressure on the left footpeg. We found a pretty good set-up on the bike and my lap times were pretty consistent over the long runs we did for Bridgestone, and it’s this consistency that’s important to our development programme right now. It’s been good working with Marco; we work well together and I’m sure we’ll be pushing each other all the way once we start testing and racing again next year. Now I’m off straight back to America, where I’ll have surgery on Wednesday to remove all the metal from my various injuries. As well as taking the plates out of my left foot and ankle, Doctor Ting will also remove the plate I’ve had in my left hand for the past three years. I’ll be about two kilograms lighter! My plan is to take it easy after the surgery, to make sure I’m fully recovered, and then train my butt off ready for the new season.” Olivier Jacque #19 – 24 Laps – Best Lap 1’32.3 “These three days at Phillip Island have been positive, because we now know how much work we need to do to improve the bike before we return here to continue testing in the New Year. We tried a slightly different engine today, which had some positive points, but we’re still struggling a little bit with the front-end feeling. Marco did make some progress with this issue after trying a different set-up on his bike, and I’ll test the same set-up when we return to Phillip Island in January. I had a big crash late on in the day after the rear came round on me through the right-hander at Hayshed. It takes some time to warm up the right-hand side of the tyre here, and although I’d been really careful up to this point, I must have just given it a bit too much gas on cold tarmac and down I went. It was a big impact, but apart from a few bruises, I walked away uninjured. It was scary though! We leave here knowing what we have to do to close the gap on the leading riders and teams, and I hope when we return early next year we’ll see a significant improvement in both bike and lap times.” Michael Bartholemy Kawasaki Competition Manager “These three days have been pretty successful, as we leave Phillip Island having given our engineers in Japan a clear direction in which to drive the development of Kawasaki’s 2009 Ninja ZX-RR. All three riders have worked hard this week, and we’ve seem some positive results, but we’re under no illusions about how much work there is to do between now and next year if we are to be competitive from the start next season. We hope to return to Phillip Island to confirm any changes made to the bike as a result of this week’s test, as this will provide a good reference point for future improvements, but we won’t be able to confirm any test dates until the Grand Prix commission has ratified the new sporting regulations in December.” More, from a press release issued by Rizla Suzuki: Rizla Suzuki completes successful final 2008 test Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has rounded off 2008 with a successful three-day test at Phillip Island in Australia. Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen recorded over 450 laps of the 4,448m Australian circuit between them over the three days, as the two conducted exhaustive tests on the Suzuki Factory’s prototype parts for the 2009 GSV-R. Good weather at Phillip Island for the majority of the test enabled both riders to get through a significant workload as they evaluated everything from new front forks to rear swinging arms, new chassis’, rear suspension parts and aerodynamic upgrades. Capirossi and Vermeulen then both conducted two race simulation runs each on the final day. This allowed them to compare the 2008 Phillip Island race tyre and the proposed new single spec tyre that all riders will be using in 2009. The data that the two Suzuki factory racers collected will be invaluable to Bridgestone as it refines the tyre for next year’s championship. Capirossi and Vermeulen were able to concentrate on testing new parts and engine strategies at this private test rather than having the pressure of going for outright fastest laps and being compared to other riders on-track. Despite windier conditions and a slightly less grippy track than the GP weekend, Capirossi’s best time was 1’30.9 slightly better than his fastest lap from this year’s Grand Prix – with team-mate Vermeulen clocking 1’31.1 also an improvement on his race best. Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now faces the enforced test ban which will keep the bikes and riders off track until the end of next January, but the work won’t stop for Suzuki’s racing department as it uses the information collected at the previous two tests plus the wind tunnel data to make sure that the 2009 Suzuki GSV-R is the best and most competitive it can be in readiness for next year’s tests and for the first GP of the year, scheduled to be at Doha in Qatar on Sunday 12th April. Loris Capirossi: “I really enjoyed the test because we tried a lot of things and were able to get through lots of testing, which produced very clear and positive results. We compared many things, tested two new chassis’ and lots of new parts – we now understand much better how they work together. Today we were able to compare the old and new bikes and the 2009 prototype is definitely better, especially when the tyre is worn we can maintain a better lap-time, so this is a good step. We still have some work to do especially to improve the engine still further but it has been a really positive three days for us. I did more than 200 laps and it has been a really good test. The prototype bike is already better than the recent one, but the next version we get to try should be even better because that will have lots of new developments and we will be able to use all the information from this test to improve it even further.” Chris Vermeulen: “It was a good test and I think I managed to get almost 250 laps done in the three days, which is about 1,100kms on the bike! We had a lot of new parts from Suzuki to try including, front forks, rear linkages, new frames and swinging arms and we also tested some control tyres from Bridgestone – which look like they will be the spec tyre for next year – and they worked pretty well with the bike straight away. We also tested the new engine spec that we had at the Valencia test and that worked pretty well but I want more steps in the same direction! We also had some electronic modifications and with all this we were able to find some good improvements and we were consistently quicker around here than we were in the race. We have definitely taken a step forward with the bike and we certainly have a direction with all the parts that we tested here to make significant improvements in next year’s tests. I am really looking forward to the first test of next year and being able to use the new stuff that Suzuki will be able to develop from the results we have had here.”

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