Just three official tests now separate Suzuki from its MotoGP return.

The first of those takes place at Sepang in Malaysia this week, when Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales will get their first opportunity to evaluate changes made to the GSX-RR since the previous tests in November.

"We are going to start the first test of the season, it is just another test for us, but the feeling this time is completely different as this is the real preparation for the coming season that starts very soon," admitted team manager Davide Brivio.

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"Going to Sepang we are in the same situation as everybody else as we start to prepare for our first season and of course we are all very excited. We have just finished assembling the new bikes in Japan and we know that our riders can't wait to get back on the bikes as we start this new project and understand where we are at regarding development."

Top CRT and then Open class rider Espargaro was 14th fastest on his Suzuki debut in the official Valencia post-race test (+1.3s), before a further private test at Jerez.

"I'm really excited to get back to the track again on my Suzuki," said the Spaniard. "The first tests in Valencia and Jerez last November were good and satisfying so we have basically kept working in the same direction and targeting the first race of the season. We will have lots of hours testing in Malaysia which means that there's plenty of time to try the new bike and I'm sure that we can be competitive against the other teams and riders."

MotoGP rookie Vinales was the fastest newcomer at Valencia (17th, +2.3s). The former Moto3 champion and Moto2 race winner is eager to get back on track.

"I'm 100% ready to get back in action again and I can't wait to get on the bike in Sepang," he said. "I've spent most of my time over the winter riding motocross, cycling and ice racing and I have done whatever I could do to be fit and ready for the first test. I'm confident in my physical condition and I believe that the Suzuki engineers and our team has kept working hard during the winter months; I'm very excited to see the progress made on the bike. I already have a very positive feeling from the tests in November and my expectations for my first MotoGP season with Suzuki are extremely high."

Randy de Puniet, who struggled with engine and electronic issues during the GSX-RR's debut as a wild-card at Valencia, will also be on track at Sepang to help with development.

A second test will be held at Sepang later in February, followed by a final official pre-season outing in Qatar. Suzuki will then start its first MotoGP season since 2011 at the same Losail circuit on March 29.