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Kenny Roberts determined to bring the World Championship back to Suzuki

Kenny Roberts determined to bring the World Championship back to Suzuki

I am going out to Suzuki´s factory test circuit in Japan on January 19 for my first encounter with the new four-stroke XRE0 but I am pretty calm about the whole thing and I haven´t been speculating about the new bike. I don´t care if we´re racing 4 strokes, 2 strokes, or twins. I don´t care if we´re all on pink bikes, I just want to get back to beating Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi, as I´ve done before. Since Christmas I have been intensifying my training programme, spending two hours a day in the gym and another four or more out riding, concentrating on oval dirt-track.

Suzuki is steeped in GP racing, with race and championship wins dating back to the Sixties, so they are not aiming to finish in the top ten and neither am I. We all want to win. Next week I get my first ride on the new bike, but to be honest I haven´t been wondering about what it will be like, or thinking about the 4 stroke too much. I´m focused on myself, and in putting in the time and effort to be capable of winning GPs. I want to be in the right frame of mind.

The team will be changing from Michelin to Dunlop tyres, which is a decision by the Suzuki factory and I go along with whatever decisions they make that will make the bike faster. I´ve raced with Dunlop tyres before, they feel different and require a different riding technique. In any case, the new MotoGP machine will have a different power character again, and a different power-to-weight ratio, so again we have to wait and see.

I´m looking on us using different tyres as another possible advantage. It´s going to be a tough test - Grand Prix racing´s pretty cut-throat at the moment. I´m confident that both Dunlop and Suzuki are going into this with the aim of winning.

The fact that the factory brought the four-stroke programme forward to race the machine this season instead of next year means they´ve obviously had good results in their tests. I´ll be seeing for myself next week. I´ve never raced a 4 stroke, but I´ve always been sure that you´ll have the same people able to win races on either type of machine. From that point of view, it´s just business as usual. My only goal is to try and win the World Championship again.

500cc, 2001, Kurtis Roberts

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