Having been forced to miss the Aragon MotoGP round due to a finger injury, Loris Capirossi is fired-up for his return to action at his favourite - and most successful - circuit on the calendar.
“My finger is at about 90%, but it is only a finger so I am totally ready for the weekend," he said of the injury. "I am still having physiotherapy every day to get it better and will continue until the race, so by then it should be ok."
Capirossi will make what looks certain to be his final Japanese appearance on a Suzuki this weekend - he is expected to move back to Ducati next year, with the Pramac team - while Suzuki should confirm its MotoGP future, with rumours of a single-bike team for 2011.
The Italian won three times at Motegi as a factory Ducati rider from 2005 to 2007 and has been on the podium a further two times. The #65 has finished sixth and seventh during his two Motegi starts on a GSV-R.
"I love Motegi, It is my favourite race track of the year and I have good memories from there," said Loris, without a top six finish in 2010. "I have won three times and it would be amazing to challenge the front guys – especially as it is a big weekend for Suzuki. I know that it is tough out there, but anything is possible and we have got to keep believing in ourselves.”
Rookie team-mate Alvaro Bautista, who has a contract for 2011 and would therefore be the team's only rider should they scale back, isn't a big fan of the stop-go Motegi circuit - but won last year's 250cc race, and has taken two further Japanese podiums.
“Motegi is not one of my favourite circuits, it is a bit too plain and does little to test a rider, it is just a lot of straights and then short corners put together, so it is difficult to get a flowing rhythm. I have done quite well there in recent years though so I probably don't dislike it that much!" he smiled.
"We still have a lot of work to do on the GSV-R, but we are improving every race and so is my riding, I know I need to qualify better on the Saturday, because this is leaving me a lot of work to do in the race, so that is my first priority this weekend. If I can get on the first couple of rows who knows what might happen in the race.”
Bautista took Suzuki's best finish of the season so far with fifth in Catalunya.
Motegi will also see Suzuki celebrate its 50th anniversary of racing. Famous bikes and riders from Suzuki's history will be present at Motegi including Mitsuo Ito, who still holds the title of the first - and so far only - Japanese Isle of Man TT winner, a feat he accomplished in 1963.