Suzuki Qualifying From Catalunya

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Japanese Superbike Champion Akira Ryo made a steady start to his three-stopMotoGP campaign in Catalunya, taking 18th place in the first qualifying sessionbefore Sunday's race. Ryo's time of 1.47.931 was just 2.468 slower than theprovisional pole position time of 1.45.451 set by Italian rider LorisCapirossi,and he is confident that he can improve even further as he settles into his first ever race outside of Japan...

Suzuki gained three "wild-card" MotoGP entries for Ryo, starting with thisweekend's race in Catalunya, then moving on to the next round at Assen in theNetherlands and finally Donington Park in the UK.

Ryo gave the new GSV-R four-stroke race machine a sensational second placedebut at the first round of the new MotoGP series back in April, when he took ahome wildcard entry at Suzuka, leading for most of the race before losing outto World Champion Valantino Rossi in the closing laps.

Ryo's three-race MotoGP campaign is designed to accelerate the on-goingdevelopment programme of the new Suzuki GSV-R machine alongside the officialfactory MotoGP Telefonica Movistar Suzuki team riders, Kenny Roberts and SeteGibernau. Ryo's machine is identical to the other two Suzuki pilot's bikes,but he is racing in the factory's official blue and white livery.

Commenting on his first qualifying session, Ryo said, "All the testing andracing I have done so far on the GSV-R has been on Dunlop tyres and so I amstill getting used to the different feel of the Michelin's that we are racingon here. We have played with a number of different settings today and I thinkthat we have made some progress. Tomorrow, if the weather holds, we will makemore progress I am certain."

Sete Gibernau took his GSV-R to a storming late lap to take second place on theprovisional grid with a time of 1.45.532. Roberts finished 6th in a time of1.45.923.

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Brent Avis
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