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Kyle Ryde to join Buildbase Suzuki for season run-in

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Newly-crowned British GP2 Champion Kyle Ryde will join the Buildbase Suzuki team for the final two rounds of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, partnering this year’s champion Richard Cooper in the National Superstock 1000 Championship aboard a GSX-R1000.

Ryde clinched this year’s GP2 title at Oulton Park – at the same round Cooper secured his championship – which led to a test at the Buildbase Suzuki team’s Mallory Park HQ and an entry into the final two rounds of the season in the highly-competitive stock-based class.

Kyle Ryde, “I had a chat with Steve [Hicken – team manager] after Oulton as I was keen to have a run-out in the Superstock races at the final rounds. To be honest I was talking to them about running a Suzuki but would have run it under my own banner, however he suggested I join them for Donington and Brands which is good for me and I’m grateful for the chance. I’ve not done a great deal on a big bike – I did a few rounds of superbike but that’s my only experience and that was a bit of a baptism of fire – so I’m hoping to learn a lot over the two weekends and I’ve got the best rider as a teammate, so hopefully he can tow me round a bit. If we can come away with a top five or two I’ll be over the moon for my first go.”

Cooper will return to superstock action as the 2019 champion at Donington Park, while Luke Stapleford and Bradley Ray will be looking to continue their end of season form and finish the season strongly.

Improvements and points at Thruxton for Buildbase Suzuki

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Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray and Luke Stapleford grabbed a brace of point-scoring finishes apiece at Thruxton for round seven of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, while Richard Cooper left the Hampshire circuit still leading the National Superstock 1000 series.

Ray, on his GSX-R1000R superbike, finished 12th at the end of a tight race one, but with a best lap time comparable with the rest of the field in front of him, showing both the improvements made but also the strength of a competitive BSB field. Race two was red-flagged first for rain, before being stopped again following a crash for Glenn Irwin and track contamination. A frantic, eight-lap dash saw intense action throughout the field, and Ray took the flag in 13th.

Stapleford, who had suffered a DNF at each of the previous two rounds, was going into the weekend with the clear aim of coming away with two solid results. He finished 14th in race one, improving to 12th in race two after pushing on to try and break the top-10.

In the National Superstock 1000 Championship race Richard Cooper led for the bulk of the laps but suffered from a drop in grip in the final laps, which cost him positions and saw him cross the line in fourth place. It was the first time the Buildbase Suzuki rider had finished off the podium this season.

Bradley Ray, “We were hoping for a solid weekend here, just to steady things up a bit after a tough start to the year. The results aren’t going to set the world alight but the lap times were better, and at a track where there are some big, high entry speed corners which is an area we have struggled with with the bike and the front end. We’d have liked to have been a few more spots further up, but it feels like a solid weekend.”

Luke Stapleford, “It was close out there, certainly in the shortened race two. I was pushing on to try and get up to the top-10 but we had the two red flags and I lost ground on each restart, and with eight laps in the end it was hard to recover. But we found about three quarters of a second in lap time from race one to two, and our times were similar to the guys in front, so we can take some positives away for sure.

Richard Cooper, “I felt comfortable at the front and like I was controlling the pace, but when I was passed I just didn’t have an answer. I felt like the tyre dropped in the final few laps and the bike was wheel-spinning a bit more but that’s not really an excuse. It’s the first time we’ve finished off the podium this year, so to be honest we’re going home disappointed, and will be going to Cadwell with added motivation to get back to winning ways.”

Superbike race one result: 1. Andrew Irwin, 2. Scott Redding, 3. Josh Brookes, 12. Bradley Ray, 14. Luke Stapleford

Superbike race two result: 1. Josh Brookes, 2. Andrew Irwin, 3. Peter Hickman, 12. Luke Stapleford, 13. Bradley Ray

Superstock race result: 1. Taylor Mackenzie, 2. Lee Jackson, 3. Billy McConnell, 4. Richard Cooper

Richard Cooper extends championship lead for Buildbase Suzuki at Donington Park

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Richard Cooper extended his National Superstock 1000 Championship lead at Donington Park this weekend, the Buildbase Suzuki rider winning both parts of Saturday’s 100-mile race on his GSX-R1000R, before finishing second in a wet feature race on Sunday.

Cooper – back in short circuit action after his debut at the North West 200 that saw him take a second place finish and the record for fastest ever newcomer – set off from pole and led from start-to-finish in the opening half of the two-part, 100-mile race. Following the mandatory pit stop, he was again in the group at the front in the second half, albeit with his rivals doing their best to halt his charge. Keeping his head, he settled into a rhythm before making a series of passes to get himself back into the lead, taking the win at the chequered flag.

With the rain arriving for Sunday’s 21-lap dash, Cooper again used his experience to remain calm, allowing his rivals to get in front of him in the tricky conditions. With an eye firmly on the championship he kept it safe, but upped his pace as the laps ticked by, passing his main title rivals to finish second – including an impressive move around the outside on the last lap into the chicane – stretching his series lead in the process.

Richard Cooper, “Days like that can lose you a championship, and we’re fighting for a title. We had two good wins on Saturday from pole, and in the wet we beat who we needed to to extend the championship lead. I took my time at the start and settled into it, and the track came to us as it dried out a bit. It was quite a nice move on the last lap into the chicane and it meant we extended the championship lead again rather than giving four points away. It was another good job by the team and that makes my job easier; the bike was working perfectly, they put the settings in it and I get on it and ride it, and we’ve been on the podium in every race so far this season.”

Three Bennetts British Superbike Championship races gave Bradley Ray and Luke Stapleford the chance to get more miles under the belts of their GSX-R1000R superbikes, as they and the team continue to work on improving their setups, and search for a solution to the problem that is currently preventing them from extracting the race-winning potential they know exists. There were positives throughout the weekend, including Stapleford making it through to Q3 and starting from seventh on the grid. Sadly he was just missing the setup to maintain that form in the races.

Ray chalked up 17th, 13th, and ninth place finishes, while Stapleford finished 12th, 15th, and 10th in the three races, while still the progression highlights the constant improvement taking place inside the Buildbase Suzuki garage. Crucially, Ray found nearly 15 seconds in race time from race one to race three.

Bradley Ray, “We made big steps this weekend. We’re still working on improving our feeling with the bike to give us the confidence to push, but we were a lot closer to the leader every time we went out which shows that we are making improvements; we were over 30 seconds off the winner in race one, and that was down to 18 in race three. Obviously we want to be back to where we know we can be and getting the results we know are possible and that we had last year, but it’s coming.”

Luke Stapleford, “It’s more improvement. Oulton was really difficult for us, but this weekend, while they’re not the results we go racing for, we made steps forward, came away with three points-scoring finishes and a couple of top-10s for myself and Brad. We obviously want to be further up the order than that, but I know that the team and the bike is more than capable of it. We’re getting there and we’re making steps forward. Qualifying was good and honestly I thought the pace might have been there for a podium but sadly it didn’t materialise. I also think I need to work on my style, which is still a bit ‘600-style’. But it’s progress, and hopefully we’ll do the same at Brands Hatch next time out.”

Buildbase Suzuki now turns its attention to the Isle of Man TT races, where it will field newcomer Jay Lawrence. For information on Lawrence’s signing, click here. Follow the team’s progress via @_HawkRacing on Twitter.

Buildbase Suzuki and Carl Cox Motorsport hand newcomer Jay Lawrence dream TT ride

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The Buildbase Suzuki team has announced that it will contest this year’s Isle of Man TT with newcomer Jay Lawrence, with the New Zealander and Carl Cox Motorsport-supported rider campaigning GSX-R1000R machinery in the Superbike, Superstock, and Senior TT races.

Despite being a TT-newcomer, Lawrence is no stranger to the Isle of Man or the Suzuki family, having raced the Mountain course during last year’s Classic TT with Team Classic Suzuki. He also races a GSX-R1000R in the New Zealand Superbike Championship and has tasted victory on New Zealand roads, winning around the famous Cemetery Circuit.

For Buildbase Suzuki – victors of the blue ribband Senior TT in 2017 with the new GSX-R1000R – working with Lawrence this year represents a new challenge, but also an opportunity to help develop an emerging talent that has already received high praise and recognition from the likes of three-time British Superbike Champion John Reynolds, who was Lawrence’s teammate at the Phillip Island Classic.

Steve Hicken, Buildbase Suzuki team manager, “It’s a different approach to the TT for us this year, but something we’re looking forward to all the same. Jay’s got an impressive CV, Suzuki GSX-R1000R experience, and has already raced the TT course so we’re not starting from scratch. He’s going to be coming in with his own goals, and if we can help him have a safe couple of weeks and improve his pace every time he goes out, it’ll be a successful couple of weeks.”

Jay Lawrence, “It was great to get those first laps at the Island under my belt with Team Classic Suzuki but now it’s the real deal. I have to thank Carl Cox again for supporting me and the fantastic opportunity we have with Buildbase Suzuki, who have such a strong TT pedigree. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better and spin some laps, before we head across to the Island in a few weeks’ time.

“Personally I’ve always loved street courses like the Cemetery Circuit back in New Zealand, but of course the TT is the absolute pinnacle for me and many road racers. I’m under no illusions as to the size of the learning curve ahead and the strength of the competition, but we have to start somewhere.”

Buildbase Suzuki returns to North West 200 as Cooper makes road racing debut

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The Buildbase Suzuki team returns to the International North West 200 this week, with Richard Cooper set to make his road racing debut at the high profile event that runs over the course of a week at its picturesque north coast location in Northern Ireland.

Cooper – who currently leads the National Superstock 1000 championship for Buildbase Suzuki – will campaign superbike and superstock-spec Suzuki GSX-R1000R machinery around ‘The Triangle’ circuit. And the Nottinghamshire ace is no stranger to either, having won the final British Superbike race of 2018 with Buildbase Suzuki and winning at the opening two rounds of this year’s superstock championship.

Despite boasting a wealth of racing experience, this year’s North West 200 is Cooper’s first foray into the world of road racing, and while he has his own expectations and goals, he’s approaching it with a level head.

Richard Cooper, “Now we’re here the excitement and anticipation has gone up a notch, but it hasn’t changed our approach. I have come here with some aims in my mind – I think any rider goes to a new event or to compete somewhere new with a bit of an idea of what they can do, what they can achieve, and where they want to be – but the main one is to learn and improve as the week goes on. I know I’ve got a good team around me and a team that is vastly experienced on the roads, and if I work hard and come away with strong performances I’ll be happy.

“As far as road race debuts go, there aren’t many bigger events to do it than the North West 200. I’d been looking to take this step for a couple of years to be honest and I was only going to do it when everything came together. But the plan was always to come here; it’s a great event, great fans, a really strong field. I’m excited to get going, but we’ll be taking it step-by-step.”

Cooper will get his first taste of the North West 200 circuit when practice gets underway tomorrow [Tuesday 14 May], before the opening Superstock race on Thursday evening [16 May]. He will then contest three races on Saturday [18 May], with two superbike races and the second superstock race.

Cooper and Buildbase Suzuki extend series lead with Oulton win

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Buildbase Suzuki’s Richard Cooper has extended his National Superstock 1000 series lead, following a faultless performance at Oulton Park for the second round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship that saw him take the race win from pole position.

Cooper recorded an exceptional lap time aboard his superstock spec GSX-R1000R in qualifying – a lap that would have put him 15th on the grid for the opening superbike race – to storm to pole position. However, a drying track made for a tricky race, yet the former National Superstock 1000 champion used his experience to take another win and extend his points lead, ahead of his North West 200 debut next week.

Richard Cooper, “The conditions were a bit tricky, but honestly I don’t think they were that bad. I actually wanted to put a dry rear in and I think we could have done so comfortably, but, with the championship in mind, we played it safe. I managed the tyres we went with and we picked up another win, but I was annoyed in the morning when I woke up to rain because we’d done all the work in practice in the dry, set the lap time we did which would have put us ninth in Q1 in BSB, and wanted to show what we could do as our pace was so strong. I was even frustrated we didn’t top every session. But that is a good place for us to be. The bike’s working well and the team have put a package together I have complete faith in. It’s the North West 200 next and I’m really excited. I’m going there with a different mindset to the Superstock Championship – I’m going to learn and build up to it, and if we work hard and come away with strong performances I’ll be happy.”

There was more progress for Bradley Ray in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship. The superbike race-winner has endured a tricky start to the year, but is working hard with the team to improve the setup of his GSX-R1000R, making steps forward all the time. Changes to his suspension setup between races yielded sizeable improvements to his feeling on the bike. He finished 14th and 12th in the two races.

Bradley Ray, “It was another difficult weekend results-wise, and obviously that’s what we’re here for. But that said we’ve made some big steps. We made some significant changes to our suspension setup for race two; it gave me a much better feeling from the bike and we went 10 seconds quicker over race distance. So we’re making progress and are heading in a good direction. We’re still lacking a little bit of feeling and edge grip, but it’s a long season and we’re getting there.”

After a strong start to his maiden British Superbike season at Silverstone, where he finished 7th and 5th, Luke Stapleford had a weekend to forget at Oulton Park. The 2015 British Supersport champion crashed heavily in qualifying, and had to start from 25th on the grid. Riding through the pain barrier, he finished 19th and 16th.

Luke Stapleford, “It wasn’t the ideal follow-up to Silverstone. We’d been struggling over the weekend, and in the same areas we knew we needed to work on – our edge grip on the rear and just the feeling and feedback from the bike – and our job got a lot harder after the crash in qualifying. It put us on the back foot for the races, starting as far down as we did, and I was struggling to ride comfortably after it. But it’s racing, it happens. The positives are, as a team, we’re working hard and with some changes to mine and Brad’s bike over the weekend we found improvements. We’ll keep plugging away and go again at Donington.”

Suzuki’s race-winning GSX-R1000R is also currently available on 0% finance. Click here for more details.

Cooper and Buildbase Suzuki win at Silverstone

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Richard Cooper has bookended his winter break with race wins, the Buildbase Suzuki rider victorious in the opening National Superstock 1000 race of the year onboard his GSX-R1000R, after dominating the final BSB race of 2018.

Fast throughout practice and qualifying, Cooper took the chequered flag first in both halves of the two-part race on Saturday, along with a new lap record. He was back on the podium in today’s race with a third placed finish, and leaves with the championship lead.

Richard Cooper, “It was the perfect start to the year to be fair, especially after winning the last race of last year, too. We picked up what is essentially two race wins on Saturday and I felt comfortable. It was a bit tougher today but we were back on the podium and we’re leaving the opening round with a new lap record and as championship leaders, so I don’t think we can ask for more. I’m already looking forward to round two.”

In the Bennetts British Superbike Championship Buildbase Suzuki’s Luke Stapleford impressed with two solid top-10 finishes. It was the former British Supersport champion’s debut with the team in BSB, and he improved all weekend to finish fifth in race two. He was seventh in race one.

Luke Stapleford, “Honestly, I’m well happy. We’ve had two strong results and the gap to the front isn’t massive either. We’ve got one area where we need to improve – across the team – and that’s with our edge grip. We really struggled in the last sector this weekend. We changed a few things between sessions to try and find a cure, but that’s where we need to focus and improve. But I think if we can find that piece of the jigsaw then it should put us right in the mix.”

It was a tough opening weekend of the campaign for Bradley Ray, in contrast to his 2018 when he opened his year with two wins and was on pole at Silverstone. A crash in the first free practice session put him on the back foot for the rest of the weekend, while he also struggled with edge grip. He finished 16th in race one, but changes between to two outings saw him improve to 10th in race two.

Bradley Ray, “It was a tough weekend. The crash really hindered us and we needed the track time as there are a few areas we need to really focus on and improve. On the whole the bike’s good, but we’re missing a bit of grip when we’re on the side of the tyre and it’s costing us. But we got two races in and plenty of data, and made a big improvement from race one to race two. It wasn’t the best way to start the year but it could be worse. It’s a long season, we’ve got a test next week, and we’ll keep digging hard and it’ll come.”

Buildbase Suzuki begins British Superbike campaign with Monteblanco test

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The Buildbase Suzuki team’s preparations for the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship began in earnest this week, with Bradley Ray, Richard Cooper, and new recruit Luke Stapleford enjoying three positive days of testing at Circuito Monteblanco.

For Ray and Cooper it was a case of getting reacquainted with their GSX-R1000R machinery. Ray – a BSB race winner in 2019 – spent the opening day getting back up to speed before working through a detailed testing programme, including various maps and tweaks to the electronics.

Cooper, who was also a BSB race-winner in 2019 and dominated the final superbike race at Brands Hatch, returns to Superstock 1000 action this year. The experienced Nottinghamshire rider readjusted to the differences between superbike and superstock machinery before putting the laps in and making subtle adjustments to suspension setup and geometry as he went. After finishing runner-up in the Superstock 1000 championship in 2017 on the then brand new GSX-R1000R, Cooper is aiming to go one better this year.

While he’d enjoyed a preseason shakedown at Cartagena on a superstock-spec GSX-R1000R, Monteblanco gave Stapleford his first taste of the bike in superbike trim. The Leicestershire-based rider and former British Supersport champion – who completed an impressive 78 laps on the final day of testing, more than any other rider – worked on finding a comfortable base setting before focussing on generating more grip and adjusting the chassis and electronics to suit.

Bradley Ray, “It’s good to be back riding again. It’s obviously my third year with the team and the big Suzuki so there’s a degree of familiarity when getting back on the bike for the first time, although it still takes a session or two to settle in. But I felt good. We had a few things to try over the three days and spent quite a bit of time on the electronics again as they play a big part in this game, and just tried to get everything working well together. But we’re not making huge changes. For the first time back on the superbike it felt good, the pace was good and it’s a solid start.”

Richard Cooper, “I feel really good to be fair. We did everything we wanted and needed to do over the three days, and everything’s spot on. Obviously there’s only so many changes you can make to a superstock machine, but we made some changes to the forks and put a different shock in it and went faster each time we made a change, so I’m feeling really positive and really confident. We had good one-lap pace but could also put a good run together. It’s only testing but we’re in a good place.”

Luke Stapleford, “I’d spent a bit of time on a stocker to get used to the GSX-R1000R and just get bike fit again, but it’s obviously different again when you jump on the superbike. That said I don’t think we can be too disappointed with the first test. We spent a bit of time just getting comfortable on the bike and then worked from there. One key area of focus was just generating a bit more grip, so it meant adjusting the chassis and geometry to improve in that area, and the team has worked well. I think we’re in a good place to keep improving at Portimao.”

The Buildbase Suzuki team will continue its testing programme on 17-18 March at Portimao, before the final preseason test at Silverstone on 9 April.

Richard Cooper set for North West 200 debut with Buildbase Suzuki

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Richard Cooper will make his debut at the fonaCAB International North West 200 in association with Nicholl Oils this year – which takes place from 14-18 May in Northern Ireland – riding both Superbike and Superstock GSX-R1000R machinery for the Buildbase Suzuki team.

The experienced Nottinghamshire ace, who is also contesting the National Superstock 1000 Championship with the Buildbase Suzuki team this season, has been eyeing up a road racing debut at the famous event over the years. And while he’ll get the chance in 2019 and is excited at the prospect, the former national champion will head to the event with a sensible attitude and approach.

Richard Cooper, “I’ve been looking at taking this step for a couple of years now to be honest, but I was only going to do it when everything came together to do it and do it properly. The team is vastly experienced on the roads so I know I’ve got a lot of people around me who know what they’re doing and a lot of support, and the North West 200 is an incredible road racing event to be competing in.

“Obviously I think any rider goes somewhere new to compete with an idea of what they can do and what they can achieve, and of course I’ve got targets in my head. But at the same time I’m approaching this with a sensible head on. I’ll be taking my time and learning as much as possible, and we’ll take it step-by-step.”

Cooper won the final British Superbike race of 2018, with a dominant display at Brands Hatch. This season, as well as making his road racing debut, he has his sights firmly set on lifting the 2019 British Superstock title after finishing runner-up on the new GSX-R1000R in 2017.

He added, “While the North West is obviously a big thing for me this year and is a bit of a milestone in my career, the focus is very much on trying to win the Superstock title for the team and for Suzuki. I’ve won it before and nearly won it again a couple of years ago when the bike was brand new. Now the GSX-R1000R has had another year of development under its belt, it finished runner-up again last year, hopefully it’s third time lucky.”

Luke Stapleford and Richard Cooper complete Buildbase Suzuki lineup for 2019

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Buildbase Suzuki has announced that Luke Stapleford will ride the team’s second GSX-R1000R superbike in 2019, partnering Bradley Ray in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, while Richard Cooper remains with the team for another year and will contest the National Superstock 1000 Championship.

Stapleford – who won the British Supersport title in 2015 – will return to the British Superbike paddock after three seasons in the World Supersport Championship. It’ll be the 27-year-old’s first full season on a superbike, however he boasts previous superbike experience having made a number of BSB wildcard appearances in recent years. For 2019 he is looking to build on that experience and develop into regular front-runner in arguably the most competitive domestic series.

He took victory in the final BSB race of 2018 and for 2019 Cooper will remain with the Buildbase Suzuki team for a third season. This year the experienced Nottinghamshire ace will return to the hotly-contested Superstock 1000 championship – a championship he won in 2011 and finished runner-up in in 2017 on the new GSX-R1000R – with the clear aim of fighting for the title.

Luke Stapleford, “I’ve got a good relationship with Steve [Hicken – team manager] and the team, and we’ve worked together before and we know each other well. We’d talked in the past but honestly I was still enjoying riding the 600. But we talked again after last season and I was at a point where I wanted a change from what I was doing in World Supersport – I was riding in a family-run team and honestly it was a lot of effort that took the shine off racing a motorbike a little bit. I’d had a few offers in BSB before, after the title in 2015, but now I feel the timing and the package is right. It’s going to be hard, I know that, but I think we’ll get there. We’ve not set any specific targets so much, and we’re being realistic, but at the same time my goal is to be at the front. It’s going to take time to get up to speed and a lot of hard work, but that’s where we want to be and I know the team and the bike can be there. The feeling in 2015 of winning the British Supersport title is what’s kept me going, and I want the feeling of winning races, and eventually a championship, again.”

Richard Cooper, “The aim this year is the championship, definitely. The GSX-R1000R has finished twice, narrowly, the last two seasons in Superstock, and I want to deliver the team and Suzuki the championship. I had a good end to the year in Superbike and it was good to win the last race of the year, but it’s going to be equally competitive in Superstock in 2019, with some new riders and teams. But I think a good winter, some changes with the team and to the bike, and also my previous experience should give us a head start. This year I want to go out and enjoy my racing again, and hopefully that’ll come with race wins and, fingers crossed, a championship.”

Team manager, Steve Hicken, “We’re going into 2019 feeling really confident with our package and feel we’re in with a very good chance of winning both the British Superbike and Superstock championships; we’ve got a strong rider lineup across the classes and we’re in our third year of development with the GSX-R1000R, which should see us start on the front foot come April.

“Richard Cooper ended 2018 on a high, winning the last superbike race of the year after after strong end to the season. This year our aim is to win the Superstock title and everyone knows he is certainly more than capable. It’s a championship that we’ve finished runner-up in the last two years, and we’re determined to go one better.

“We’re really pleased to welcome Luke Stapleford to the fold this year. We’ve worked with him in the past as a youngster and maintained a good relationship over the years. His talent is unquestionable and has got past superbike experience, which will stand him in good stead. He’s going to have a lot to learn still, and it’s a hugely competitive field this year, but we’re confident he can get up to speed quickly and have a successful season.”

Luke Stapleford, Richard Cooper, and Bradley Ray – who re-signed with the Buildbase Suzuki team after a strong season in 2018 which saw him do the double at the season-opener – will now begin a comprehensive winter testing programme ahead of the season-opening round at Silverstone on 19-21 April.