Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen are on their way to Suzuki’s factory in Japan to conduct all-important wind tunnel testing as the team prepares for its assault on the 2009 MotoGP World Championship.
Priorities remain to make the latest version of the Suzuki GSV-R consistently competitive even when grip levels deteriorate late in races, and to increase stability both in cornering and in a straight line. For this reason Suzuki has arranged to test both in their wind tunnel this week in Japan and on an appropriately demanding track at Phillip Island in Australia next week.
Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi set the all-time record for Grand Prix appearances at Misano, competing in his 277th GP race.
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
“The test will be at Suzuki´s race department headquarters which is just outside Hamamatsu, and the wind tunnel is situated near the test track. Both Loris and Chris will participate in the test and there are some new aerodynamic parts which we are interested to get some data on with the guys actually on the bike.
“For Chris, he has always been a little bit slower than Loris - and previously John Hopkins - down the straight and his acceleration off the corners is just as good, so we can only put that down to aerodynamics. We are hoping not only to test some parts with Chris, but also get some tips for him to get folded around the bike a little bit better and also make the bike a bit more comfortable for him to get tucked into more.
“We don´t do a lot of wind tunnel testing with the actual GP riders. Suzuki does a lot with machine and test rider in a full sized wind tunnel rather than a scaled down model. Aerodynamic drag was traditionally the main thing to test in that environment, but with a motorcycle at Grand Prix level you are also looking to create a certain amount of `downforce´ on corners and also make the bike easy to pitch from side to side. It is not just about straight line drag, it’s also about how easy handling and stable the machine is as well.
“With the GP riders themselves this is the first time they have done some wind tunnel testing with Suzuki and it is just a question of making sure that the changes coming up reflect the data that Suzuki has already gathered in the wind tunnel, but with them onboard. They want to get some specific data, because one or two kilometres per hour difference on the race track is difficult to understand the source of, whether it comes from slightly better corner exit or from grip and so on.
“The main thing we are looking to generate at Phillip Island is increased grip through the long, fast corners, the only corner like that which we suffered on at Valencia was turn twelve, the long left hander before you come round to the final corner. Phillip Island has got three or four long accelerating corners like that so we are looking to try and put the power to the ground a lot better as a combination of both engine character and chassis changes.”