Rizla Suzuki is hoping to put its latest Phillip Island nightmare quickly behind it at Sepang this weekend - where Loris Capirossi set the third fastest time in winter testing (pictured).
Despite incidents and accidents ahead for Jorge Lorenzo, Nicky Hayden and James Toseland, Suzuki team-mates Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi could only finish eleventh and twelfth last Sunday in Australia.
The GSV-R has never gone well down under, but has a more favorable record at Sepang - and Capirossi's excellent pre-season form had many onlookers, including Valentino Rossi, predicting a competitive 2009.
That hasn't happened, with both Capirossi and Vermeulen yet to finish higher than fourth, but both riders feel optimistic for this weekend.
Capirossi won at Sepang for Ducati in 2005 and has two further Sepang podiums to his credit. The Italian finished seventh on his Suzuki debut at the circuit last season.
"Sepang is a good track for the bike and for me because we did a very good winter test there and we are very optimistic about going there,” confirmed Loris. “The bike is very different now to the one we tested back then, but we want to try to go well - like we did in the winter - and I really believe we can push hard for a good result."
Capirossi lapped just 0.219sec behind Casey Stoner (Ducati) at the 2009 Sepang test, with Rossi (Yamaha) a mere 0.125sec quicker than the #65.
After four years in MotoGP with Suzuki, Vermeulen now has just two races left with the GSV-R before switching to WSBK. The Australian has a best Sepang finish of seventh from his three previous starts.
"I'm looking forward to getting to Sepang and putting last weekend behind us<” he admitted. “It's a circuit we all know very well because we do a lot of testing there. It's going to be very hot and humid - a lot different to Phillip Island - and the GSV-R has performed well there in the past so that's what we'll be looking to aim for. We have a good base setting so hopefully it will work out for us and we can be competitive from the start."