Suzuki boss Paul Denning has praised new signing Alvaro Bautista's progress after the 250cc graduate matched the 2009 Suzuki riders' pace in Estoril testing.
Bautista has taken Chris Vermeulen's place alongside Loris Capirossi in the factory Suzuki lineup for 2010. He completed three days of private testing at Estoril this week, and his best time of 1:38.5 was in line with what Capirossi and Vermeulen had managed during the race weekend in October.
"Alvaro has been very impressive over the three days and has completed 212 laps with absolutely no errors," said Denning. "His pace at the end of the test is very respectable, especially considering that there were only two bikes out there on track and, with cooler conditions and no rubber being laid down, the conditions were not as good as they were at the race weekend last month. He has jelled really well with the whole team and is taking a very calm approach."
Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki ran alongside Bautista in Portugal as the team pressed ahead with its development program as well as getting its rookie rider up to speed. Despite flying in winter testing and challenging for podiums in the early rounds, Suzuki's 2009 season descended into disappointment and, by the end of the year, its riders were struggling to get into the top 10.
"Nobody in Suzuki or in the team is under any illusions regarding the amount of additional performance needed out of the GSV-R for 2010," said Denning, "and while the test items have not been night-and-day differences, they will certainly help the overall package be a lot stronger when we get the new bike at Sepang in February."