After a difficult race day in Australia, Alex Lowes is energised by the new location and looking to build on the potential shown in practice at the opening round. The Buriram track’s more conventional stop-start design will see the team reverting to pre-season test settings rather than those needed for the unique and flowing nature of Phillip Island and Lowes is determined to use this knowledge to continue his challenge on the Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Rehabilitated from his testing injury Down Under, Randy de Puniet is excited by the prospect of racing his Suzuki Superbike on neutral territory. The Chang circuit’s introduction will allow the Championship rookie a clean slate against his competitors while he continues his development within the Crescent team.
Located 400kms to the northeast of Thailand’s capital Bangkok, Buriram (‘the pleasant city’) is a largely agricultural region with a population of approximately 30,000. Pioneered by local politician and football club owner Newin Chidchob, the 4,554m Herman Tilke designed circuit cost 2 billion baht (circa €56 million) to construct, meeting the highest FIM standards, and features a combination of long straights and 12 corners. Its technical complex comprising nine turns can be seen clearly, and in its entirety, by the 50,000 spectators seated within the main grandstand and aims to create a breath-taking lap of both speed and precision throughout.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki begins its campaign in the tropics at 10:30hrs local time (03:30GMT) on Friday March 20th with an extended 75-minute free practice session, before returning to the regular schedule for the second 45-minute practice at 15:30hrs local time (08:30GMT). Saturday’s Superpole will be on track at 15:00hrs (08:00GMT) with Sunday’s races scheduled for 13:00hrs (06:00GMT) and 16:30hrs (09:30GMT) respectively.
Alex Lowes“The Chang International Circuit in Thailand looks like a great track. As a rider it’s always nice to experience new circuits and places so I’m really looking forward to the next race. The last few weeks, since returning from Australia, have allowed me to relax and refocus so I’m now ready to start work with my GSX-R1000 in FP1 on Friday and join the fight on track come Sunday.”
Randy de Puniet“My physical condition has improved a lot, I’m not quite 100% but I think I will feel much more comfortable on the bike and definitely much better than in Australia. It is a new track for everybody so it will be very interesting to see what will happen and I’m excited to learn the new layout. We will start at the same level as all the other teams and riders so it could give us a good indication of exactly where we are with the GSX-R in comparison. I enjoy learning new tracks so I’m looking forward to the second round.
“Even though I was not 100% in Australia I still managed to use the experience to learn a lot from both races, and I think we can do well in Thailand. The weather looks like it will be very hot, which can be challenging, but I have trained a lot over the past two weeks to ensure my physical condition is as good as it can be for the race duration. I also watched the Thailand motocross race last week, it was very difficult for the riders in those conditions and I think it will be the same for us, but I’m confident we can have a good race!”