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Telefónica Movistar Suzuki riders keen to build on positive start of GSV-R

Telefónica Movistar Suzuki riders keen to build on positive start of GSV-R

Telefónica Movistar Suzuki riders keen to build on positive start of GSV-R

The Phakisa Freeway circuit hosts the next round of the new MotoGP World Championship, and despite both failing to finish last time out at Suzuka, Telefonica Movistar Suzuki team-mates, Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau, both head to South Africa in high spirits. In Japan the new Suzuki GSV-R 4-stroke prototype blew away all pre-season doubts about its possible competitiveness, and indeed even claimed a place on the podium after Japanese wild-card and Suzuki test-rider, Akira Ryo, ended the race second in the wet conditions.

Additionally both Roberts, and especially Gibernau, performed well enough to suggest that the new Suzuki could make a real impact in this term´s championship race. Gibernau produced a superb, aggressive ride in Suzuka and found himself in third, snapping at the heals of World Champion Valentino Rossi, before unfortunately sliding out. Buoyed by his last performance, the Spaniard is eager get back on the bike at one of his preferred circuits.

´Welkom is special for me, and I think my history proves it. In 1999 I set the fastest lap and finished second – my best result until the Valencia win last season; in 2000 I was on pole position. Now we go back with a very different situation. At Suzuka I was mad after I had to touch the brakes mid-corner, and fell off. Afterwards, I felt really positive. Our bike worked really well, and I was able to ride aggressively and think about winning the race. I hope it will be the same in South Africa.´

American former World Champion, Kenny Roberts Jr, is in equally upbeat mood as Gibernau after the manufacturer´s showing in Japan. ´I was really proud of the team and the factory at Suzuka. Our bike is still at an early stage, but the progress since our tests was significant. We still have a long way to go, but the big steps have been accomplished. This next track will be interesting. In spite of the extra weight, the four-stroke turns better than the two-stroke, especially in slower corners. The important thing at this stage is tyres and grip. I hope we can find the right package to run a consistent race.´

MotoGP, 2002, Africa's Grand Prix

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