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Aoki to ride 2008 Suzuki in Malaysian triple-assault

Aoki to ride 2008 Suzuki in Malaysian triple-assault

Rizla Suzuki wild card Nobuatsu Aoki will be giving a sneak peek into the future when he begins practice for the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Rizla Suzuki wild card Nobuatsu Aoki will be giving a sneak peek into the future when he begins practice for the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. The Japanese rider, making his first appearance of the year in a MotoGP race, will be using a prototype of the 2008 GSV-R alongside regular Suzuki riders John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen, who will both be onboard the current model.

"I am really looking forward to the race and it is a great honour for me to be the first person to ride the 2008 GSV-R in a Grand Prix event," says Aoki. "It is still in a prototype stage, but we have already done some testing on it and are very confident it will be good. I cannot wait to get out racing again, it feels like a very long time since I last competed!"

Hopkins and Vermeulen continue their friendly rivalry for fourth place in the MotoGP World Championship, and both still have the slim possibility of third place in the standings. The Suzuki duo are separated by just five points in the overall classification, and had something of a salvage operation at the last round in Australia after a difficult qualifying session. The 2007 machine impressed in Sepang earlier in the year, giving both plenty confidence for their visit to Malaysia.

"I'm really excited about coming to Malaysia. It is one of my favourite tracks and with all the testing we do here it is also the track I have been around the most," explains Hopkins. "The bike worked well here last year and when we came here for pre-season testing we were competitive from the start. I was happy to be able to put in a strong performance in Australia and get my best ever result there, so that also looks good for this race. The Bridgestone tyres have come on a long way this year and we know they were good at Sepang in recent years so I am hoping for really big things to happen this weekend!"

Vermeulen will be running his normal 2007 livery, after making a switch to a Barry Sheene inspired design at his home race in Australia.

"We had a much better result in the race last weekend than our qualifying suggested, and that is a testament to how well the Suzuki and the Bridgestone tyres are working together and also of how hard the whole team worked," says the Australian. "We are now going to a track where we have already tested the 800 and we know it went pretty well around there. I was ill at Sepang last year and only managed to finish 11th, I know I can do a lot better than that and I'm sure that we will be right up there and in amongst the action right from the first session on Friday."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, POLINI MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX

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