The Sepang tests are an anticipation of the coming season. While it’s true that a test is above all an opportunity to fine-tune the bike, it also offers a fairly faithful taste of what the season could offer. The stopwatch leaves no room for doubt, Suzuki is there and is not intimidated by either the eight Ducatis or the new generation. Alex Rins and Joan Mir showed they hadn’t lost ground to their rivals, scoring an excellent third and seventh positionbehind Aprilia which dominated today’s practice.
“It was a good day – says Rins – I was able to have a good rhythm from the start, staying consistent, which is a positive thing considering I was trying different things. Overall I am satisfied. As for the engine, according to the data it certainly has more power, while with the aerodynamics there are still some details to perfect, the two new wings did not work as they should have “.
What is the purpose of these tests exactly?
“We try to gain something in the corners. In the first section of the track, in the slow corners, the others manage to keep the front wheel more attached to the ground and we have some difficulties. We have to work on that.”
Overall, what is your opinion of this new bike?
“It’s a good bike. The engine has definitely improved, we tested a new chassis with some carbon parts, but we have to test it again to get more data. We have several new elements to work on, the conditions are very good.”
You also had an accident…
“Fortunately, nothing serious, it was my mistake because of the track conditions, the bike had nothing to do with it.”
Is it difficult to make comparisons at these levels after a two-month break?
“The important thing is to try to keep the same level, but we riders live on bikes, so we’re used to it.”
Joan Mir: “The Suzuki has improved, but it’s better not to claim victory”
His teammate, Joan Mir, also said he was happy with the performance of the new Suzuki, even if he remains cautious in his predictions, aware of what his opponents are capable of.
“The most important thing is above all to find the right feeling with the bike – the Spaniard told us – In our case, we tried several new elements, both the fairing and the chassis. The difficulty is to find the right balance between all the elements. In the first tests, sorting out the electronics is more difficult, it takes more time and it is something that will have to be worked on, but I can say that I am satisfied”.
What about braking and accelerating instead?
“A chassis is more stable under braking but then in corners it is not optimal, and one is the opposite, we will have to study the data to choose the best solution, but for today the lap times were not bad, I think we still have a good margin of improvement”.
So can we say that the big step forward was given by the new engine?
“Yes, the engine has certainly shown its potential, even if personally at the moment I don’t look too much at the positions, it is better not to declare victory too soon. The improvement was made without upsetting the character of the bike.”
Do you think this engine can make things easier for you compared to last season? Will it be competitive enough?
“It’s hard to say, I think when we have all the pieces in order we will have a clearer picture of the situation but starting the season with the system which lowers the rear will already be a step forward compared to Last year.”
Is this what you expected or did you want something more?
“It’s only the first day, the general feeling is good, I’m satisfied”.
Have you ever had the opportunity to face some of your opponents on the track?
“Not much, I spent a lot of time alone. To be completely honest, in this heat it’s better not to stay behind anyone! (Laughs)”
You did a lot of laps today, despite the temperatures.
“Yes, I didn’t count them but I think I did around 60 laps, to get as much data as possible. It’s important because we have little time, only two days and a lot of things to try, so if the track is in good condition, it’s just to give something more”.
Instead, physically, what state are you in?
“I trained a lot during the winter break, in a way these tests are a test for all of us riders, I’m still here so I would say I’m in good shape (laughs)”.