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Rizla Suzuki MotoGP dominates at Sepang test - November 17th 2006

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    Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen finished the Sepang test at the top of the timesheets for the second day in succession, as the new Suzuki GSV-R800 continued its impressive introduction into MotoGP.

    Hopkins recorded a time of 2'01.63 - half a second inside the current lap record held by Loris Capirossi on a Ducati 990 and almost a second quicker than the best lap-time that he recorded at this year's Malaysian Grand Prix. Hopkins used his 48 laps today to test and refine engine mapping characteristics and to complete thorough evaluations of Bridgestone's latest tyre developments. The Anglo-American's quickest lap was set using one of Bridgestone's new development race tyres during a 5 lap run.

    Vermeulen was equally impressive and his time of 2'02.04 was also inside the current lap record, as he too found the new 800 to his liking. He completed 61 laps of the 5.5km Malaysian circuit and was able to post consecutively fast times throughout the day. Vermeulen worked tirelessly with his crew on engine and chassis settings as well as continuing with a thorough tyre test for Bridgestone.

    Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will now re-group for the final pre-2007 season test at Jerez in Spain between the 28th and 30th of November, where everybody involved with Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will be hoping to develop further the high potential already shown by the 800cc GSV-R.

    John Hopkins:

    "It's been a really good test and I'm happy with the way things have gone. I've gotta say I'm really impressed with the 800cc bike! Suzuki has stepped up to the plate and given us a good package right out of the box. We have been able to get straight into testing and work on engine strategies and all sorts of detailed stuff. We did a lot of tyre testing with Bridgestone and at the end of the day I found a tyre that really suited the bike and the track, and was able to set some fast and consistent lap-times. It's great for the team to have such a good package at this time and moral is higher than it ever has been in my career at Suzuki. We don't want to get too excited because there were a couple of very fast riders not at this test, but right now we can't wait for the next test as it seems things are starting to happen!"

    Chris Vermeulen:

    "I've been to Sepang a few times with a 990, but this was the first time on the 800 and I felt quite comfortable out there today. I felt like I could lap consistently at the pace we were doing and Suzuki has certainly made some good steps with the bike coming to this test from Valencia. We tried many different engine and chassis settings, plus a lot of different Bridgestone tyres over the three days to find the best combination for the bike. I enjoyed riding the GSV-R800 a lot and we seemed to be competitive with the other bikes and riders here. Hopefully we can continue the progress at Jerez before our time off."

    Paul Denning - Team Manager:

    "Following on from the Valencia test our initial hopes for the new bike were reconfirmed at this three-day test, and the 800cc engine has shown superb promise. Nobu Aoki did a good job for the team on day one and helped us to get a good base engine setting for John and Chris to get down to some serious work. Both the riders put in a huge effort and their testing was all done at a very high rhythm. The information they obtained over the three days will be relevant to both Suzuki and Bridgestone as we work on getting the 800 to its full potential.

    "The lap-time of the new GSV-R800 has certainly surprised us! John and I had discussed that to get within two seconds of the 990's lap-time at Sepang would be a reasonable result, but to be a second quicker is quite shocking! Some of our major competition was not present at this test, but nonetheless this result can only give us great hope as we move forward.

    "It is also very encouraging that the Factory has a clear target to develop the bike further and improve both engine and chassis performance. To have such a solid base to work from in November gives us good reason to hope Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will be competitive in 2007."