Rizla Suzuki MotoGP travels to the scorching heat of the Qatari desert for the first Official MotoGP Test of the season next week, looking to fine tune the new GSV-R800 and ensure its race competitiveness.
The first race of the 2007 season - also in Qatar - is just a month away, and every lap completed by John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen on the 5.38km Losail International Circuit further advances the development of the all-new Suzuki GSV-R800.
Hopkins and Vermeulen will also undertake a comprehensive race tyre test with Bridgestone in readiness for the race there next month. The Japanese tyre factory has worked closely with Rizla Suzuki MotoGP during the winter test schedule to produce tyres best matched to the new 800's power distribution and edge grip requirements.
The slippery and dusty character of the Losail track and the high air and surface temperatures will certainly ensure the new bike and latest generation tyres are given a comprehensive evaluation in the extreme conditions.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will be in Qatar for three days before heading off to Jerez in Spain for a further three-day Official MotoGP Test. The first round of the MotoGP World Championship takes place at Losail in Qatar on Saturday 10th March.
"We need to do well at this test to prove that Phillip Island was just a minor hiccup, and to show that we are ready to run at the front. We have a good 990 set-up for Qatar so hopefully that'll work on the 800 as well. Personally though I wish this was the first race and not just another test as I feel that I am ready to get going and show what I can do this year with the new 800!"
"I can't wait to ride the bike again. It is always improving which makes it so exciting every time I get on it. Suzuki will have something new for us to test I'm sure. They always do at tests now and that also adds to the thrill. Everything is pretty good at the moment but we know we still have a lot to do. We'll certainly be working on some new engine maps to make sure we can get the new 800 as good as it can be for when we come back here in March for the race."