Team Suzuki Press Office – September 29.
Bennetts Suzuki’s Richard Cooper will swap his Superstock machine for a GSX-R1000 Superbike this weekend with a wildcard appearance in this weekend’s MCE British Superbike Championship at Assen for round 11 of the series racing in a one-off retro livery.
Inspired by the original GSX-R750F, Cooper’s GSX-R1000 will feature a classic blue and white Suzuki design, while the National Superstock 1000 Championship challenger will also wear a special matching set of retro RST leathers.
With the 2017 GSX-R1000 the only all-new bike on the MCE British Superbike grid this season, Cooper’s experience and proven development record will further help the Bennetts Suzuki team, as it continues to turn the new race machine into a series front-runner.
Cooper currently sits second in the National Superstock 1000 Championship, but with that series absent from the Assen schedule, he and the team decided to enter the blue ribband class to speed up the continued development of the GSX-R1000 in Superbike spec.
Cooper will join Sylvain Guintoli and Taylor Mackenzie – who will make a return from injury after missing the last round at Oulton Park. Mackenzie suffered a nasty high side in the second race at Silverstone, when he was looking to improve on his seventh-place finish in race one. The result was a broken foot, but after sitting-out the Oulton Park meeting, the youngster’s recovery has progressed well and he is looking forward to re-joining the fray in the Netherlands.
“We always talked about doing something at Assen, with the Stock 1000 class not travelling to Holland. We talked about Supersport again, like we did at Thruxton, but decided to do Superbike in the end. For me, it’s the best option. The team has made good progress with the bike in Superbike spec in recent rounds, and we’ve seen that. I believe the bike is already good enough to achieve results on and I feel I can help develop it a little more with my experience. There’s no pressure on us this weekend. From a setup perspective, we’ll approach it like we do any other weekend and work through things one-by-one. But it’s also a chance to try some other options and other settings without the pressure of results so much. Things that maybe the team has been reluctant to try with Taylor or Sylvain to this point. We can experiment a little more. But that said, I also want to achieve two strong results and I think we can.
“We started thinking about doing something special with it. As good as bikes like the new GSX-R are, I also really like the retro stuff, too, and the colours we’ve gone for just scream ‘classic Suzuki’. That whole scene is very popular now, I rode the Team Classic Suzuki Katana recently – which was good – and the team has also got an immaculate GSX-R750F. That bike’s the real showpiece for Suzuki, so basing the design on that just seemed like a nice fit for this weekend.”
“I’m looking forward to Assen and getting back on my race bike. It was horrible having to just watch at Oulton. The foot’s recovering well, though. I’m still on crutches and it’s going to be sore, but I figured my boots will hold the bones in place while I’m riding! Assen is a circuit that should suit us, and the team has been making good progress with the bike. We had a good result at Silverstone before the crash, and as a team we’ve improved from there, so, if the foot doesn’t hold me back, hopefully we can get two more good results.”