Team Alstare Suzuki riders Yukio Kagayama, Fonsi Nieto and Max Neukirchner finished their World Superbike testing at Phillip Island extremely satisfied with the progress they made with their GSX-R1000s and are eager for the first race to start in Qatar next month.
All three riders have worked hard during the tests and have given the team a lot of information and data to analyse upon the return to the workshops after the long trip home.
The team was able to test a variety of new parts and material during the test and was very happy with the feedback given by the riders.
After his illness, which caused him to miss two days of the official tests last week, Neukirchner was particularly happy to be able to get down to work this week and showed this by putting in more laps than either of his team mates.Yukio Kagayama - 190 laps, "Generally, my feeling is that this has been a good test and I know I put in many, many laps. The 2008 bike is not so different to last year's bike but there are some new bits and it was up to us to test many things and ideas and give our engineers comments about which way to go. Although this year's bike is not a big change, the small differences have made this a better bike, I feel. We worked in all areas, including engine, chassis and electronics and my personal feeling is that the electronics are working very well. Concerning the chassis, we tried many different things, but for me the standard setting is pretty good. This means we have a good base and that's important.
"Phillip Island is a good testing track because it has a big variety of corners and that means that the bike has to work very hard. My goal for 2008 is to be consistent and take as many podiums as possible. If I do that, I am sure some race wins will follow."
Fonsi Nieto - 252 laps, "This test I have been trying many parts - in fact, just the regular 2008 bike - and I'm happy, even though maybe I could've lapped a bit quicker. But for me, this test is not about lap times; it is about getting comfortable with the bike and the team and then pushing hard. Remember this is a new bike and a new team for me so there is a lot to learn. But I feel we have made good progress since the last test and have been able to try many different things. At the moment, I have a very good feeling about the engine. For me, the front end is not quite what I would like yet, so this is an area where we have to do more work. It affects my turning in, but exiting corners is no problem at all. Phillip Island is a good track for testing and we were lucky because the weather has been pretty good and not caused any problems. My next time on this bike will be in Qatar on the race weekend and I am looking forward to it already."
Max Neukirchner - 269 laps, "I guess I did quite a lot of laps but then I had to make up for the time I lost when I was sick last week! Being ill last week was a big disappointment, so I was determined to put in the laps and the track time this week. The good news is that I was fully fit this week and ready to give everything I had. My feeling is that, over three days, the tests have been good. I've improved each day and got quicker. I've spent most of the time trying to find a good base set-up and getting comfortable on the bike. The bike is new to me and so are the mechanics, so we are learning together and it is going very well. We've done a lot of work on the chassis and I feel we've improved it quite a bit. For me, I need to do more work on the rear end feeling. At the moment, I'm not sure if the problem is the set-up or the tyre itself, but we're not far off and I think the bike will be ready for the first race. I've had no big problems - except hitting a couple of birds - and I'm happy that we found a good base from which to work and that means that I'm now looking forward to the first race."