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Wildcard Aoki joins Suzuki for South East Asian trip

Wildcard Aoki joins Suzuki for South East Asian trip

Rizla Suzuki´s main riders Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen welcome test rider Nobuatsu Aoki back into the team for the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Following the disappointing results of tenth and fifteenth respectively for Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen in Australia the pair head into the last two rounds of the year hoping to end a season of ups and downs on a positive note.

Meanwhile, as was the case when Ben Spies made wildcard appearances earlier this year at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis and when Kousuke Akiyoshi appeared as a wildcard in Japan just over two weeks ago, the Rizla Suzuki team will field a three-rider line-up in Malaysia this weekend as Nobuatsu Aoki comes back in to join Capirossi and Vermeulen.

The Suzuki team stayed on for a day of testing at Phillip Island last week and after a disastrous home GP for Vermeulen he hopes some of new parts used there can be put to immediate good use this weekend.

Having finished eleventh (2006) and seventh (2007) on his previous two Grand Prix visits to Malaysia, Vermeulen commented, `I am really looking forward to heading back to Sepang, as it´s a track we have tested and have proved that the Suzuki goes well. Let´s hope that some of the test parts we tried at Phillip Island will be beneficial. It will also be great having Nobu (Aoki) there on some more development parts and I hope that they will be an advantage to Loris and me, and we´ll be able to use them in the race-team very soon.´

Capirossi is approaching his tenth Sepang visit in a similarly positive mood having earned two victories (1999 in 250cc and 2005 in MotoGP) and two further podium finishes (second in 2001 and 2006, both in MotoGP) from his previous nine visits. However, the experienced Italian did add a warning note about a possible top speed deficit for Suzuki on the long straights at the Malaysian circuit.

`I am quite optimistic about Sepang as I really enjoy the track there and we made some really good tests there earlier in the year,´ stated Capirossi. `We certainly got the bike working quite well there so let´s hope all the new parts we have had this year will help when we return. For us it won´t be too easy because there are two really long straights, but I know we will all try to do our best. Sometimes that is not enough to get a good result so we hope that all the work the factory is doing will help us and we will keep trying as hard as we can over the next two races and see what happens.´

Suzuki certainly appear to be doing everything possible to bridge the gap on their rivals in terms of competitiveness and that is where Aoki comes into the picture – with the specific task of evaluating several new parts for the 2009 Suzuki 800cc prototype this weekend, in readiness for further developments over the winter.

Last year Aoki was also on the GSV-R800 as a wildcard in Sepang - finishing a solid thirteenth in the race - and the former World Championship regular is looking forward to returning to Grand Prix action commenting, `I can´t wait to get to Malaysia; I´m very excited about racing at Sepang and working with Loris and Chris. This is my first race of the year and I enjoy the track as I have done hundreds of laps there in testing.´

`It will be a very important weekend for me because I will be using many new parts that we hope will work well and the other guys can start to use as soon as possible.´


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