Suzuki aims for a major step forward in 2005
Suzuki unveiled its 2005 MotoGP team during a packed press and media launch at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this evening.
Held in the Team SUZUKI MotoGP hospitality unit, the launch was hosted by popular BBC TV presenter Suzi Perry. She introduced racers Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins, new Team Manager Paul Denning, Development Leader Kunio Arase and 1993 500cc GP World Champion Kevin Schwantz to a select group of international journalists.
The team is now led by Paul Denning, who clinched last year's BSB title for the Hamamatsu-based manufacturer.
"In our opinion at Suzuki, we have two of the best riders in the Championship, as Kenny Roberts is the last rider to have beaten Valentino Rossi to the title. That's easy to forget but you don't forget how to win races and how to go fast. Our target is to put something underneath Kenny that he needs in order to show his talent," said the new manager.
"Regarding John, he's very impressive for a 21-year old kid. He might have crashed yesterday, but for the ten, twelve full days of testing we had this winter, he didn't make a single mistake. As he gains experience and confidence with the bike, we can expect great things for him this year."
Denning was also confident in the potential of the XRE-3 version of the Suzuki.
"We have made a massive step forward with the new bike. The shape of the bike and the engine design may look similar, but the potential is nothing like the old machine. The work done so far with the team and the technicians has been very positive and I hope we're going to have the capability to come back to a competitive level."
Roberts Jr commented that the new team had seen the greatest amount of change since he had been with Suzuki. Hopkins was still on a high from his day's performance and told the gathered media guests about his excitement at working with the new team and the fantastic job that Bridgestone is doing.
Kevin Schwantz was asked his views on the team and said he had been keeping tabs on the pre-season tests and expected big things from both riders this season.
Development Leader Kunio Arase gave a full technical brief on the GSV-R, detailing the alterations and improvements made to Suzuki's prototype Grand Prix motorcycle.