Japanese GP: Rizla Suzuki preview

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP turning Japanese for trip to Motegi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP heads to the land of the rising sun this week with its team strengthened by the inclusion of Team Test Rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, to form a three-man attack at the...

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP turning Japanese for trip to Motegi

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP heads to the land of the rising sun this week with its team strengthened by the inclusion of Team Test Rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, to form a three-man attack at the Japanese rider's home circuit.

Akiyoshi will be making only his third Grand Prix start this coming weekend and is eager to continue with the excellent form he showed at last season's Japanese Grand Prix. He qualified in 12th position and finished in 13th ^Ö in front of many more experienced riders ^Ö whilst giving a very impressive debut performance.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP regulars Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins will be looking to continue with the impressive form they have both shown this season ^Ö giving Suzuki its best ever points haul in the four-stroke era ^Ö in front of many Factory guests and management who will be at trackside.

Motegi is about 100kms north of Tokyo and situated between the cities of Mito and Utsunomiyo. The Twin Ring Motegi is not only a fantastic MotoGP venue with modern facilities and good safety, it is also a state-of-the-art oval race circuit where NASCAR and Indy cars are regularly tested. The track that the Rizla Suzuki riders will be taking part on is far removed from the oval racing as it features many short corners, some fast bends, a tight hairpin and a top-speed downhill run to a hard braking effort at the creatively named 90-degree corner.

The three Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers take to the track on Friday for two free practice session, there will be a further free session on Saturday morning followed by and hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 24-lap race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (05.00hrs GMT).

Chris Vermeulen:

"I enjoyed my first time in Japan last year and although the track was quite difficult to learn at first, I managed to get to grips with it on race day and finished as the first Suzuki home. I will certainly want to repeat that this weekend but I am planning that it will be a lot higher up than the 11th place I got last year. We are still working hard to improve the bike at every race and we know we still have a bit of work to do, but we will be trying to get as many points from the rest of the season as possible and be as strong as we can be for next year."

John Hopkins:

"I had a bit of bad luck at Motegi last year when Dani Pedrosa and I touched and I ran off the track. I am pretty sure I would have got a better result than I did if that hadn't have happened. I really like the Motegi circuit and seem to go quite well there ^Ö at least in qualifying! I've had some strange things happen to me in races there but I want to put on a good show for all the Suzuki staff and fans and get a good result there this year that will leave then cheering!"

Kousuke Akiyoshi:

"I am very please to riding at my home Grand Prix. I have done many miles of testing on the 800cc GSV-R and the bike has improved a lot throughout the season. I will be trying my best and hope to give Suzuki a good result as a thank-you for letting me race."

-credit: rizla suzuki

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Chris Vermeulen , Kousuke Akiyoshi , Dani Pedrosa