National Guard Suzuki’s Jake Zemke was a busy man at the two-day AMA test held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, earlier this week as he adjusted to life on a new team and with a new motorcycle – the GSX-R1000.”So far so good,” Zemke said early on the second day of the test. “We’re just trying to sort through… they’ve got a lot of stuff here. A lot of stuff available to us to change the bike around and I’m just trying to try everything that I can. Right now I’m not trying to go out and do any fast laps. I’m just trying to get a feel for all the different components – how they will change the bike and what they can do and how big of a change each one is. That way I will have a better idea going into a race weekend – if I need a big change, if I need a little change. I’ll have an idea that if I change this part it will be a major change or if I change this part it’s just going to be a minor change. I’m just trying to get through all that kind of stuff and get a look at everything that’s available to me. It’s a little bit of a long process, but we got through most of it now and we’re just finishing up with the last few things we have to get through. In a normal year you’d probably do all this stuff over two or three tests, but we’re cramming – it’s like finals time. We’re just studying and trying to get everything done in a short amount of time. It’s going good.”On the first day of the test, Zemke lapped at 1:25.12. On the second day he dropped almost half a second to end with a best of 1:24.7 – about a second slower than his teammate Aaron Yates who ended the second day with the quickest time off all the Superbike men.”Yesterday, without trying too hard, we were able to get within a second of what everyone else was doing,” Zemke said. “I think we did 35, 36 laps so in that short amount of time, we’re able to get within a second so that’s good. We are where we need to be and we just have to get through these last components and then start fine tuning a little bit and come out at Daytona swinging.”Zemke and the team opted to start from scratch rather than run the bike the way that Geoff May (the rider Zemke has replaced at Jordan Motorsports) had it set-up at the end of last year.”When we started, we basically took the bike and put it… I don’t want to say stock, but stock geometry, stock rear linkage, stock off-sets, stock everything so I could get a good feel for it. ‘Okay, this is a Suzuki, this is what it feels like’ sort of a thing. Then we just started adding components from there. We got closer to what Aaron [Yates] has going and Geoff [May]… where they developed the bike to last year. We had a look at that and now we’re just going through more components. We’re getting into doing some fork stuff and just figuring it all out and see what it’s going to take to get it around the racetrack fast.””I’m actually working today,” Zemke said with a laugh. “But it’s good and I’m having a good time. You have to know these things because the weekends are going to be compressed at the races. You have to know what you have in the toolbox and what those changes are going to do to the bike.”
Jake Zemke: Do Work, Son
Paul Carruthers | Editor
Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.