Team Alstare Suzuki riders Fonsi Nieto and Yukio Kagayama were back in action today testing their GSX-R1000s at Qatar - just seven weeks after the World Superbike season finished.
Although conditions were far from ideal this morning - when strong winds gusted across the track bringing sand and dirt from the nearby construction sites - the afternoon was better and both riders began to try some new material towards the end of the day.
Third team rider Max Neukirchner was absent from the test as a "gentleman's agreement" between the top teams means that only two riders per team are allowed to take part.No transponders were fitted to the bikes so all results are based on the individual teams' timings.
Fonsi Nieto, 4th, 2:01.0, I'm pretty happy with how today went and I spent the time learning about my bike and also getting to know my team properly. They are a great bunch and I'm really looking forward to working with them. We started the day with everything as the bike finished the 2007 season and we made good progress throughout the morning. In the afternoon we made some changes (exhaust and chassis) and I didn't get on with the bike as well. So we will look at the data this evening and decided where to start tomorrow. One thing that did excite me today is that I was able to pass Haga on the straight! It's probably the first time in three years that I've been able to do such a thing and it made me very happy. It was very windy and dusty today so I hope tomorrow will be a bit better and we can carry on the good work.
Yukio Kagayama, 6th, 2:01.9, Today I am happy because it was as much a test of my body as the bike! And I'm happy to say that my body feels ok after 55 laps and I didn't have any pain. It was very windy and that is a good test for the handling of the bike. It was also very dusty and dirty so I took it steadily - I did not want to crash! When we tried a new exhaust this afternoon, the feeling of the bike changed and we will need to make some more adjustments to get the bike working the way we want. We also tested quite a few tyres today - some that we did not have time to try or use during the season - and some were good and some not so good. Tomorrow we will carry on our work and see what we can do.