Richard Cooper enjoyed a shakedown test at Mallory Park onboard his Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superstock machine earlier this week, before the work starts in earnest at Cartagena next month.
The former British Superstock 1000 champion and British Superbike race winner completed a number of laps on the bike he will race during the forthcoming season, making minor adjustments as he gets comfortable before the real testing begins in Spain, but he was impressed with his initial feelings.
“All the 1000cc bikes are really fast now, but what’s important is how it gets there, and this GSX-R is all about the torque, and all about the midrange,” Cooper said after the test. “You can ride this how you want to ride a 1000; low-down revs, use the torque, and drive it out of corners.
“I’ve ridden bikes that you have to really work hard, and bikes that you really have to rev, but the more revs you use the more spin you tend to get. If you can use lower revs and stop it spinning you’re going forwards instead. Plus it’s better for tyre life.
“The chassis feels good. That’s one thing that really stood out. The bike turns well and feels good mid-corner. I’ve ridden bikes that are a bit lazier to turn, but this is so easy. And ground clearance is good, too, which means you can turn quicker without scraping boots and footrests. When you are scraping things on the ground you feel like you can’t turn any more because that’s all the lean you’ve got. But the new GSX-R is quite narrow at the bottom and you don’t have that problem.”
Cooper now heads to Spain with his Bennetts Suzuki teammates, Sylvain Guintoli, Taylor Mackenzie, and Michael Dunlop, for five days of testing.
“The bike feels good, and for me, if I can find a setting I’m happy with I’ll just ride and do some race runs. Just to see how that setup and the bike work over longer distances when tyres go off and fuel load goes down. We’ll try things life different spring rates, but the bike’s feeling good and I think we’ll be in a good place.
“I think we can be competitive out the box. We’ve got to be, haven’t we? And I think we will be. It’s got the power, it’s got the chassis, and I think we’ve got a good spread of riders across the team. I’d like to think we’ve got a shot in Superstock. Winning that championship has got to be my aim. I’ve done it before and I think we’re in with a shout.”