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Rizla Suzuki turn Japanese for latest wildcard participation

Rizla Suzuki turn Japanese for latest wildcard participation

Kousuke Akiyoshi will make his first appearance of the season for Rizla Suzuki at Motegi, as the team once again run a third bike.

After experiencing wildcard success with American rider Ben Spies in select races this season, Rizla Suzuki are turning Japanese for the latest round of the MotoGP World Championship. The team will be running test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi in his annual Grand Prix outing, alongside the regular lineup of Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen.

Akiyoshi was one of the standouts of the 2007 A-Style Grand Prix of Japan, making his flag-to-flag race debut and moving up as high as fourth at Twin Ring Motegi. In line for seventh place, the home rider had to pull in on the final laps with a mechanical problem, but his showing left no doubt as to his participation in this year´s event.

`I am really pleased and excited to be racing at Motegi. It is my home circuit and I was doing well there last year before I had to retire,´ says Akiyoshi, who has been keeping himself busy this year with participation in the Japanese Superbike series for Yoshimura Suzuki.

`I have done many miles testing the 2008 GSV-R and now it will be good to race it – I cannot wait to get out there!´

Whilst one of his one-off teammates, Chris Vermeulen, has not had the best of times at Motegi –the Australian has finished eleventh in both of his Grand Prix runs at the track- Akiyoshi will have an ambitious yardstick against which to measure himself in the form of Loris Capirossi. The Italian has been the winner of the Japanese race for the past three years onboard a Ducati, and now looks to continue that run with the Suzuki GSV-R.

`We had a tough time at Indianapolis for a number of reasons, but that is now behind us and we have to make the most of the rest of the season and Motegi is a good place to start that,´ says the veteran. `I can still fight with the best guys out there and that has to be my goal!´

If Capirossi places on the podium, he would reach the 100 rostrum mark in his Grand Prix career.

MotoGP, 2008, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Loris Capirossi, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

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