This weekend's Grand Prix of Catalunya looks like being a crucial event for Rizla Suzuki riders Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen, since they should get their first chance to try much-needed engines upgrades for the GSV-R.
Despite a highly encouraging winter, Suzuki has failed to claim a podium finish during the first five rounds of the season, with a lack of top speed - visibly illustrated last time out at Mugello - considered the biggest obstacle to success.
“We have got some new parts coming from Japan which should make a difference to the performance of the GSV-R so we are all quite excited about that,” said Capirossi, who claimed Suzuki's best result of the season with fifth place in front of his home fans at Mugello.
Team-mate Vermeulen also has high hopes for the upgrades, but isn't sure they will be available during the race weekend.
“We are hoping that the upgrades from Suzuki this weekend will work as well on the bike as they have in the factory, we're not sure if we'll use them in the race or hang on for the test day, we'll just have to wait and see,” said the Australian.
Vermeulen finished seventh at Catalunya last year.
"The Catalunya circuit is one I really enjoy and we have performed quite well there,” he said. “I would have done better last year but I didn't get a good run on qualifiers, so without those this year I hope my starting place will reflect my race-pace in practice - something it didn't do last year.”
Capirossi's 2008 Catalan GP ended with a nasty hand injury, which ruled him out of several rounds, after a clash with Alex de Angelis.
"I didn't have a good time at Catalunya last year after I was hit by another rider and crashed with some nasty injuries,” he confirmed. “I am determined to put that behind me this year and carry on from where we left off at Mugello. We know we will have to work hard on the long straight at Barcelona, but we learnt a lot from the last race and hopefully that will help us this weekend.”