Suzuki Racing

WORLD SUPERBIKE

DE PUNIET HEADS VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI IN QATAR


Team Suzuki Press Office – October 17.

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Randy de Puniet concluded his first Superbike World Championship night practice with a strong eighth place at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar today.

Starting with the settings from the Malaysian race in early August, de Puniet continued to fine-tune his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, feeling confident with the engine braking and chassis settings from the outset. The Frenchman set his fastest time – 1’59.170 – on his penultimate revolution of the evening, improving by just under a second from his opening best.

Both Suzuki riders got off the blocks with a positive start in the first free practice sitting sixth and seventh in the times after the 45-minute session – Alex Lowes just 0.050 ahead of his team-mate with a best lap of 1’59.999. Utilising race two settings from last year’s visit to the Losail track, Lowes improved his time in the late-night second-stint to a 1’59.448 to claim ninth in the combined times, despite only completing 10 laps in the final session as he struggled to gel with his GSX-R1000.

The British racer will return to the set-up used in recent rounds from tomorrow’s final timed free practice in a bid to regain his rhythm and confidence ahead of Sunday’s final 17-lap contests.

Air temperatures still registered 31°C with a track high of 35°C despite the late evening start times, with Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea setting the fastest time of the night – a 1’58.252 – to claim control of the times heading into Saturday’s qualifying. Lowes and de Puniet will be back on their Suzuki GSX-Rs for free practice three at 18:00hrs local time (16:00BST) tomorrow while a reversal of the usual order sees Superpole commence at 20:45 (18:45BST) before the final free practice hits the track at 23:45 (21:45BST).

Randy de Puniet:

“A good first day for me in Qatar! I’m really happy because the feeling with the bike was good which is great for the last race weekend. I like this track and since the beginning I have felt confident with engine brake, traction control and the chassis – all were good but we have made little improvements with them all this evening. We had some small problems with tyre-life during the session but at the end I managed to do a good lap time. Now we need to work on the life of the rear tyre because this is really critical for Sunday and is our main point for tomorrow. I would like to stay in the top 10 and be in SP2 directly so I will try for a good lap time in FP3 tomorrow, but in the beginning we will work on the race distance.”

Alex Lowes:

“It was a difficult day today. We were struggling on a number of issues which has meant we haven’t been able to complete enough laps and therefore find a good rhythm. We have a lot to work to do tomorrow but as always we will put our heads down and start with a new direction from FP3.”

Losail – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Free Practice Combined Times: 1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) 1.58.252: 2. Jordi Torres (Aprilia) +0.154: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.385: 4. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +0.404: 5. Michael van der Mark (Honda) +0.684. 8. Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +0.918. 9. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +1.196.

Qatar Friday Image Gallery: CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS





For more stories about Alex Lowes, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

For more stories about Randy de Puniet, Click Here. For photos, Click Here.

Powered by Midlands Performance© Suzuki Motor Corporation 2004-2018
Top