Voltcom Crescent Suzuki successfully concluded its week of pre-season testing with Alex Lowes topping the Portimao timesheets on Monday, following-on from Eugene Laverty’s quickest-time Sunday.
Lowes’ and Laverty’s detailed evaluations after four days on-board the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, firstly in Almeria, Spain – and for the last two days at Portimao in Portugal – enabled the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki squad to refine the 2014 Öhlins suspension and newly-developed electronic control strategies, as the pair completed a thorough test schedule.
“The test has been really good,” Lowes said. “I’m still learning a lot about the bike and obviously it’s a new track for me, so it was nice to have the opportunity to learn the track and still be quick!
“We did a long run today and while the times were good, the most important thing was that it gave me a lot of confidence. We got a lot of information about the bike and it was good for me as well, as I’ve not done a race simulation since the last round of BSB. I still need to improve myself a lot and work on the bike but we shouldn’t be too far away!”
A full day of testing Monday saw the team working non-stop to ensure the most-efficient use of time and track: Lowes completed 165 laps over the two days in Portimao (725km of flat-out riding) on a track he had never previously ridden, while Laverty completed 133 laps. The distance covered allowed the team numerous chassis-setting evaluations to find the best balance for braking stability, steering and rear grip to further the developments made in Almeria last week.
Laverty’s lap-time of 1:43.4 topped the unofficial day one timesheets, from the four Factory World Superbike teams running on a blustery day one at Portimao, with his team-mate Lowes taking the top spot overall in the combined two-day timings with a 1:42.5 as Laverty also improved to a 1:42.6.
“It’s been a good test in all,” Laverty said. “This Portugal test was the best yet; even yesterday we got some good laps in the wet to understand the bike and then in the dry our pace was really strong, which shows the work we’ve been doing on the electronics has been important and that our work is reaping the rewards. “I think we are surprising some people as both me and Alex are right there, but it’s also nice to reward the team because they’ve worked incredibly hard over the last couple of months; especially since Jerez. The work they have done in six weeks, most teams probably wouldn’t complete in six months! They haven’t stopped, so I think it’s nice to see some positive potential being shown. I’m feeling good on the GSX-R and I’m looking forward to Phillip Island.”
The Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team will now return to its UK base to further evaluate the data collected and prepare for the opening round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship and the official pre-season test at Phillip Island, Australia in a month’s time.
Unofficial two-day combined times
1.Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 1:42.5
2. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) 1:42.6
3. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:42.9
4. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:43.0
5. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1:43.1
6. Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1:43.2
7. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:43.5
–From Team Suzuki News Service