for season start in Qatar
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP travels to Losail in Qatar this coming weekend for the first round of the 2009 MotoGP season with high hopes, following its successful pre-season test programme.
Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen were regularly amongst the top riders at all of the 2009 tests, culminating with Capirossi recording the third quickest time at the final test in Spain last month, with teammate Vermeulen narrowly behind with the fifth fastest lap. Now both riders will be planning to continue with the good run of form that has seen the 2009 Suzuki GSV-R emerge as one of the most improved bikes of the year.
The first round of the season is the only night right race on the calendar as thousands of watts of man-made light illuminate the 5,380m Losail International Circuit to give the riders a clear view of the track and add yet another amazing spectacle to the already high-speed excitement of MotoGP.
The Qatar race will be the first time that the new single tyre rule comes into operation, with all riders now using Bridgestone tyres and no qualifying rubber will be available. It will also see a new timetable introduced, as the riders now have two free practice sessions - there were three in previous seasons - followed by the qualifying session to get the grid positions for race day.
Capirossi and Vermeulen take to the track at 21.30hrs local time (18.30 GMT) on Friday 10th April. Sunday's race will get underway at 2300hrs local time (20.00hrs GMT) when both riders will be aiming for glory.
"It was pleasing to finish the test schedule with a good result at Jerez and it shows how far the bike has come on in the winter. But now we have to be focused on racing, because we have to keep improving and try to get the best position we can. We want to be on the podium and winning races and I believe that is where we can be. Qatar has been a tough track for Suzuki in the past, but the test there earlier this year was quite good and hopefully we can get the season off to a strong start!"
"Last week at Jerez we had a very good test and it gave us a chance to check a few things and get right into the racing mode in time for Qatar. We had an important test at Doha last month and we are going there a lot better prepared than the same time last year. Qatar has been a track that we have struggled at in the past, but the new GSV-R seems to be working very well there this year and both Loris and I were well on the pace in the test. Hopefully we can stay in the top-five at Qatar, because that is certainly what we are aiming for and if we can it will get the season off to a strong start and give us something to build on throughout the year!