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MotoGP ready to rock as the 4 strokes rumble into town

MotoGP ready to rock as the 4 strokes rumble into town

MotoGP ready to rock as the 4 strokes rumble into town

The 4 stroke versus 2 stroke debate has raged on all winter and now MotoGP fans all over the world are preparing for their first taste of the action at the opening round of the 2002 World Championship at Suzuka. Reigning 500cc World Champion Valentino Rossi is looking for his second straight win at the Japanese circuit, having swapped his beloved Honda NSR500 for the 4 stroke RC211V, and opens his title defence after a gruelling winter of tests and public appearances.

Rossi dominated the 2001 World Championship with eleven wins and a final winning margin of 106 points over nearest challenger Max Biaggi. This season the pair are expected to resume their intense rivalry on the track, with the 'Roman Emperor' leading Yamaha's 4 stroke charge aboard the M1. Also riding 4 stroke machinery this season will be Tohru Ukawa (Honda RC211V), Carlos Checa (Yamaha M1), Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau (Suzuki GSV-R) and Regis Laconi (Aprilia RS3).

Leading the 2 stroke charge in testing have been Loris Capirossi and Daijiro Katoh. West Honda Pons rider Capirossi missed out on the runner-up spot in 2001 by just nine points and will be hoping to improve on that statistic this season. 250cc World Champion Katoh makes his debut in the top class at his home track and will be hoping to extend his impressive record there aboard the NSR vacated by Rossi. Katoh has won four times at Suzuka, twice as a wildcard, since picking up a podium finish on his Grand Prix debut there in 1996.

Other 2 stroke riders looking for success at their home circuit are Yamaha pair Nakano and Abe, whilst the likes of Jacque, McCoy (both Yamaha) and Barros (Honda) will also be hoping to be at the front when the chequered flag is waved.

MotoGP, 2002, SKYY VODKA Grand Prix of Japan

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