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New-look Team Suzuki raring to go

New-look Team Suzuki raring to go

New-look Team Suzuki raring to go

Team Suzuki arrived in Malaysia on Thursday ready to begin preparations for the 2005 season a day earlier than the rest of their MotoGP rivals, with Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins due to test the latest version of the GSV-R machine supported by a new-look backroom staff for the first time on Friday.

New Team Manager Paul Denning, who takes over the reigns from Garry Taylor this season, has moved to replace Erv Kanemoto with former Proton Team KR engineer Tom O'Kane as Roberts's Chief Technician and is hoping the staff and new bike gel as swiftly possible.

"Sepang is very important for us as it will be the first time the new team will get together," says Denning. "I have been in close contact with the riders and other team crew throughout the last few months and look forward to seeing everyone together and forming a strong working relationship.

"We are under no illusions as to the effort required to get Suzuki challenging for the top positions, but the news from Japan on the GSV-R's development is very encouraging and we are keen to start work."

The long winter break has given both riders the chance to recover from various old injuries, with Roberts nursing the effects of a dislocated elbow sustained at Motegi in October.

"I'm really looking forward to Sepang, it will be great to see what the guys in Japan have got for us," says Roberts. "I've been working hard all through the winter break to get ready, my elbow feels 100 per cent and now my focus is totally on the first test."

Hopkins, meanwhile, has undergone surgery to remove pins inserted in his legs after an accident as a child and is ready for the fresh challenge as he looks to finally establish himself as a consistent frontrunner in MotoGP.

"I just want to get out there and ride," says Hopkins. "I'm excited about the new season and what Suzuki can achieve. I know I am as good as the other riders but I need to prove it and the first test is a good place to start."

MotoGP, 2005

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