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High hopes all round as Suzuki, Kawasaki and Moriwaki sign off

High hopes all round as Suzuki, Kawasaki and Moriwaki sign off

High hopes all round as Suzuki, Kawasaki and Moriwaki sign off

After Honda left the Sepang circuit last night, a trio of teams brought their test session at the Malaysian track to completion today, with positive results for all three. Suzuki, Kawasaki and Moriwaki were all pleased with results on the fourth and final day of work under the blazing sunshine, and looked forward to when they will all return here in just over two weeks time.

After showing his disappointment during yesterday's session by outspokenly explaining to journalists the frustration his team were going through, John Hopkins was today beaming as Suzuki "made a big step forward" and reached their objectives in the test. Hopkins remarked, "This morning I was able to run into the 2'03s and that was our goal before getting to the test. Both Kenny and I agree that it seems as though Suzuki are at last dedicated to getting the thing going again, and the modifications made to the bike over the winter began to show."

The Californian youngster, who flew off straight after the test to appear in the Crossover Challenge at the San Diego round of the SXGP continued, "With changes to the swingarm and chassis, the bike is so much more rideable and user-friendly. The team has got some motivation back, and it's a boost for us."

Alongside the Suzuki garage, the green-liveried Kawasaki also completed their work, with both Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann pleased to get the first test of 2004 under the belt. Hofmann stated, "It's actually a real pleasure to get on this bike now. Before, the previous version didn't feel as if it had much more to give, but with this new machine it works well together and you know that the more time spent on it, it will just continue to get better. The bike looks fantastic, and feels as good as it looks, the Bridgestone tyres are also working well, and I am really looking forward to getting stuck into this season."

Meanwhile Andrew Pitt had to wipe the sweat from his brow after he completed yet more endurance laps on his Dunlop-shod Moriwaki Dream Fighter. The Australian was exhausted after two days of running sixteen-lap stints on the RC211V-fitted bike. Today he completed another set of three race simulations, and had felt the effects, "I'm exhausted now, it's tough work in this Sepang heat. However I'm pleased with what I've seen; the engine is fantastic, so smooth that it even feels slow. The rest of the bike fits really well around it, and it is a good combination. The area that needs work is the tyres, they just aren't lasting and not offering enough grip on both front and rear. Dunlop are working to improve this though, I just hope we can see something soon."

The circuit is now handed over to Yamaha, who begin their first full test session of 2004 tomorrow morning. As everybody knows it will be the first test also for Valentino Rossi, and the circuit and nearby hotel were buzzing with action as press and photographers came to accredit themselves for the test which will take place behind closed doors. MotoGP.com is in Sepang, and will bring you the latest from the Rossi test, including exclusive web video footage. Check the Bzone for details.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, Kawasaki Racing Team

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