Japanese GP: Rizla Suzuki preview

Rizla Suzuki threesome head home for Japanese GP Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has a three headed attack for this weekend's race in Japan, for the first of three Grands Prix over four weekends around the Pacific Rim. The first of the races sees the ...

Rizla Suzuki threesome head home for Japanese GP

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has a three headed attack for this weekend's race in Japan, for the first of three Grands Prix over four weekends around the Pacific Rim.

The first of the races sees the Rizla team heading to Suzuki's homeland of Japan for the Motegi GP -- a venue that has almost become a second home for Loris Capirossi. The latest recruit to the Rizla Suzuki squad has won the last three Motegi races, an absolutely remarkable record when added to the fact that he has been on the podium a further three times during the nine years that a premier-class Grand Prix has been held at the Japanese circuit. Capirossi will certainly want to add to that record as he looks to begin the run-in to the end of the season in style.

Chris Vermeulen will be determined to break in to the top-10 for the first time at Motegi after his two previous visits have both yielded 11th place finishes. Vermeulen produced a great performance last season at the 4,801 track, after stalling on the start-line he was almost a minute behind the leader at the end of the first lap, but he fought his way to 11th by the end.

The Rizla Suzuki regulars will be joined this weekend by a wildcard rider in the shape of Team Test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi for his first appearance of the year. Akiyoshi raced at last year's Japanese Grand Prix and acquitted himself very well. He was as quick as his Suzuki's team-mates and was looking for a strong top-10 finish until a technical problem caused him to retire, after having been up to fourth place in the early part of the race and sitting in a comfortable seventh before his bike stopped.

Motegi is situated about 90km/s north-east of Tokyo and the Japanese circuit will be celebrating its 10th successive year of GP racing this coming weekend. Originally constructed in 1997 as a oval test-track for evaluating the performance of American Indy cars, it also incorporated a road circuit that is as safe and as well equipped as any on the MotoGP calendar.

The three Rizla Suzuki racers will take to the track on Friday 26th September for two free practice sessions followed by another practice on Saturday morning. The afternoon will see all three battle it out in an hour of qualifying to decide grids positions for Sunday's 24-lap race which gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (05.00hrs GMT).

Loris Capirossi:

"I have great memories from Motegi, I have won the last three races there and it will be good to go back and try to do my best again -- especially now that I am riding for a Japanese factory on its home track. We had a tough time at Indianapolis for a number of reasons, but that is now behind us and we have to make the most of the rest of the season and Motegi is a good place to start that. I can still fight with the best guys out there and that has to be my goal!"

Chris Vermeulen:

"I had a good ride at Motegi last year despite stalling on the grid. I feel that every time I go out on the track I am getting faster and faster and the new chassis that we have been using for the last couple of races should certainly help us at this track. I am in a good state of mind going into this event and confident of a strong performance. I am just outside the top five at the moment and with the races we have left I am sure I can make a serious challenge to improve my position in the championship."

Kousuke Akiyoshi:

"I am really pleased and excited to be racing at Motegi. It is my home circuit and I was doing well there last year before I had to retire. I have done many miles testing the 2008 GSV-R and now it will be good to race it -- I cannot wait to get out there!"

-credit: suzuki-racing.com

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Chris Vermeulen , Kousuke Akiyoshi