2014 World Superbike Pre-Season TestingThe Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team is fully prepped for some pre-season testing at two southern European tracks this week.
The 2014 World SBK Championship brings about new rules, and a new look for Suzuki as it preps for the season opener at Phillip island Feb. 23.The team, which will field new-to-Suzuki pilots Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes, will put the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 superbikes through some testing at Almeria in Spain and Portimao in Portugal.Lowes is new to both tracks, but Laverty has experience at them. The Englishman Laverty coached at Almeria in 2008, and took four podium finishes at Portugal, including three wins.The team will test at the 14-corner Almeria circuit Jan. 16-17. Speaking of the test, Suzuki says: the challenging clockwise 4,025m-long circuit comprises 14 corners, a chicane and high-speed back straight, affording ample opportunity to trial the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and further develop the team’s progress and synergy found at Jerez in November.”Next, the team will head to Portimao Jan 19-20, a “championship regular since 2008, modern Portimao is a 4,592m-long, undulating track and has been described as both a roller-coaster and a favourite by many riders. The 15 corners, changes of direction, blind crests and high-speed final straight will provide a demanding test for both rider and machine.”Both riders had some downtime over the mandatory winter break, which ends Wednesday, Jan. 15. Now it’s time for full throttle ahead with just over a month until 2014 World SBK.Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike) says: “The winter break was welcome following a hectic 2013 season, but now I’m itching to get going again. We had a quite tough debut test in November and so our aim at the upcoming tests is to be nearer the sharp end.“My focus will be on improving our electronics package and traction control in particular. We’ll begin in Almeria before moving on to Portimao where we’ll face our rivals on a track where I’ve won during the past two seasons and that should give us an idea of where we’re at. The team have been working flat out lately and they’ve done a fantastic job to deliver updates in a short space of time. I can’t wait to get back to work on track in a few days’ time.”Alex Lowe (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike) says: “I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike after the winter break and working with the team to build on the progress we made at the end of last year.“I really like the Voltcom Suzuki GSX-R and enjoyed it the first time I rode it. I cannot wait to start riding again and begin work in 2014. I feel comfortable already on the bike and the chassis works very well. The electronics are all new to me, because in BSB there are none and I need to continue to change my style to get the best out of the Suzuki. I know there is a lot to learn, but I’m ready for the challenge.”
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.