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Team SUZUKI MotoGP Hungry For Sepang Test - January 20th 2005

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    Team SUZUKI MotoGP riders Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins are fired up for the initial test of 2005 at Sepang in Malaysia, where they will have their first chance to ride the latest version of the Suzuki GSV-R.

    Former Champion Roberts Jr and MotoGP's hottest young prospect Hopper desperately want to get back onboard the Suzuki GSV-R and put the latest engine and chassis developments through their paces. Race technicians at Suzuki's headquarters in Hammamatsu, Japan, have been working hard during the closed season to advance the improvements that the Bridgestone shod 990cc V4 GSV-R showed throughout last year.

    The Sepang International Circuit is an ideal testing ground for the Suzuki. The 5.5km track consists of numerous medium to fast corners and four slow turns that follow full throttle straights, as well as the spectacularly smooth and sweeping chicane, capable of being negotiated at speeds in excess of 200km/h. This demanding and fast circuit will give the riders and technicians plenty of chances to push the developing GSV-R to its limits.

    This will be the first time Roberts Jr and Hopper will work with new team manager Paul Denning, who takes over at the helm of the MotoGP team after winning the British Superbike Championship with Rizla Suzuki in 2004. Also joining the team at Sepang is the vastly experienced Tom O'Kane, Roberts Jr's new chief technician.

    The Sepang test runs from January 21st-24th and is the first in a gruelling schedule for Team SUZUKI MotoGP before the racing starts at Jerez in Spain on April 10th. The pre-season testing programme will return to Sepang in February before going on to Phillip Island in Australia and then more tests in Europe.

    Kenny Roberts Jr

    "I'm really looking forward to Sepang, it will be great to see what the guys in Japan have got for us. I've been working hard all through the winter break to get ready, my elbow feels 100 per cent and now my focus is totally on the first test."

    John Hopkins

    "I just want to get out there and ride. I'm excited about the new season and what Suzuki can achieve. I know I am as good as the other riders but I need to prove it and the first test is a good place to start."

    Paul Denning - Team Manager

    "Sepang is very important for us as it will be the first time the new team will get together. I have been in close contact with the riders and other team crew throughout the last few months and look forward to seeing everyone together and forming a strong working relationship. We are under no illusions as to the effort required to get Suzuki challenging for the top positions, but the news from Japan on the GSV-R's development is very encouraging and we are keen to start work."