Rizla Suzuki riders Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista, plus team manager Paul Denning, visited the Suzuki Factory at Hamamatsu in Japan earlier this week, en-route to the second test of the year at Sepang in Malaysia.
The trio were shown around the 'Suzuki Plaza' museum by Suzuki's directors Mr.Toshihiro Suzuki and Mr. Masanori Atsumi and managing officer Mr. Sadayuki Inobe.
The group were able to inspect many of Suzuki's historical products including original Suzuki looming machines, Suzuki's first ever powered two-wheeler the 'Power Free' motorised bicycle , the 'Colleda' - the first true motorcycle produced by Suzuki - and the RM62 (50cc), which won Suzuki's first motorcycle grand prix at the Isle of Man TT in 1962.
“It was a great experience to visit Suzuki's Head Office and Motorcycle Technical Engineering Centre,” said Capirossi, who is starting his third season at Suzuki in 2010. “I have been to the factory before but I never visited the Suzuki Museum, and it was amazing to see Suzuki's technologies going right back to the start of the last century, and the first motorcycle from 1952. Suzuki has always been innovating, and this was so clear to see in the Museum. I also saw some old Suzuki bikes that I would really like to own – maybe I can do some negotiation on that!
“I want to say thank you to Suzuki for their invitation and for a great experience today,” added MotoGP rookie Bautista. “I am new to MotoGP, and new to Suzuki, but I really feel more like part of the Suzuki family each day. The engineering facility is amazing, it really opened my eyes to what goes on to support us and after visiting the museum I know a lot more about Suzuki's history. It is incredible to see such a huge company still feeling like a family business and everyone is so friendly and welcoming.”
Capirossi and Bautista also visited Suzuki's race department and met with engineers to discuss development of the 2010 GSV-R that the pair will be using in this season's MotoGP World Championship.
“Our meetings in the Racing Department were also very important, and it really makes us understand Suzuki's effort when we see so many engineers focusing on making the best possible bike for only two riders - Alvaro and me,” said Capirossi. “I would also like to thank Toshihiro-san, Atsumi-san and Inobe-san for taking time to see us and give us their support for the 2010 season. I am going to Sepang full of motivation, and I know that Suzuki is 100% behind me.”
“I did my best to tell the engineers my exact feedback from the bike, but first I need to push my own level to the maximum and get to the limit of the bike – then it's my right to complain and request better performance, but not yet!” admitted Bautista. “I feel the same as Loris - very motivated and very sure that Suzuki will do its maximum to support us.”
Capirossi and Bautista will be trying a new engine at the Sepang test, which takes place on Thursday and Friday.