Sepang : Suzuki - Preview
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP gets back into action this coming weekend for round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship at Sepang in Malaysia, the first of three races in successive weekends.
John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen will both be looking to
get back into the groove again after a tough last race at Brno. Hopkins continued his run of top 10 finishes - that now stretches to seven successive races, his best ever sequence in MotoGP – in the Czech Republic and will be looking to keep that run going at Sepang.
Hopkins qualified on the front row for last years Malaysian Grand Prix and the Anglo- American star will be looking to at least emulate or improve on that this weekend. The 5.5km Sepang International Circuit is one of Suzuki's winter test tracks and both riders have completed many laps there.
The circuit features two long straights interlinked by a variety of corners including some very fast and testing sweepers. The oppressive heat of Sepang will take its toll on the riders as the high temperatures and humidity will mean that fitness and stamina of the racers is as important as the set-up of the bikes.
The Sepang track is situated approximately 50km south of Kuala Lumpur and very near to the International Airport. The track is one of the newest on the MotoGP calendar and has fantastic facilities along with some of the best architecture at any racetrack in the world.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will begin its assault on Friday when it takes to the track for two free practice sessions. This is followed on Saturday by a further free practice session and the hour-long qualifying in the afternoon to determine the all-important grid positions. Sunday's 21-lap race will get underway at 15.00hrs local time (07.00hrs GMT).
Paul Denning, team manager, said: "With only one race over the last month and a half it's great to be getting back into action again, and these three back to back races throw the MotoGP teams right in at the deep end. Sepang is a circuit the riders know well, we know what to expect there in terms of conditions and we should have a good base set-up from where to start the weekend. We struggled a bit at Brno but the race itself saw both riders deliver strong performances and gain in confidence."
"John and Chris are extremely fit and should be in the best possible condition for the strength sapping heat of Sepang," he added. "John goes particularly well there, and we are hoping for big things from him and Chris over these fly-away races as the tracks should suit the Rizla Suzuki GSV-R and the Bridgestone tyres. Suzuki keeps pushing things forward race by race, and we hope to compete to our full potential over the next three weekends, starting in Malaysia."