Loris Capirossi hasn't lost a Japanese Grand Prix since 2004 - an amazing record he hopes to continue this weekend, during his Motegi debut for Rizla Suzuki.
Capirossi clinched all his Motegi wins in Ducati colours, with last year's win (pictured) achieved during a wet/dry race in which team-mate Casey Stoner secured the world championship.
As well as his three wins, Capirossi has two further Motegi MotoGP rostrums to his credit. Another top three on Sunday would mark Capirossi's 100th podium in grand prix racing.
"I have great memories from Motegi, I have won the last three races there and it will be good to go back and try to do my best again - especially now that I am riding for a Japanese factory on its home track," said Loris, who took his first GSV-R podium at Brno. "We had a tough time at Indianapolis for a number of reasons, but that is now behind us and we have to make the most of the rest of the season and Motegi is a good place to start that. I can still fight with the best guys out there and that has to be my goal."
Team-mate Chris Vermeulen will be determined to break in to the top ten for the first time at Motegi after his two previous visits both yielded eleventh place finishes.
Vermeulen produced a great performance last season at the 4,801 track, after stalling on the start-line he was almost a minute behind the leader at the end of the first lap.
"I had a good ride at Motegi last year despite stalling on the grid," said Chris. "I feel that every time I go out on the track I am getting faster and faster and the new chassis that we have been using for the last couple of races should certainly help us at this track. I am in a good state of mind going into this event and confident of a strong performance.
"I am just outside the top five at the moment and with the races we have left I am sure I can make a serious challenge to improve my position in the championship," added the Australian, who is currently twelve points behind rookie Andrea Dovizioso in the standings.
The Rizla Suzuki regulars will be joined this weekend by another wild-card, this time in the shape of Test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, making his first MotoGP appearance of the year.
Akiyoshi raced at last year's Japanese Grand Prix and acquitted himself well. He was as quick as his Suzuki's team-mates and was looking for a top ten finish until a technical problem caused him to retire, after having been up to fourth place in the early part of the race and sitting in a comfortable seventh before his bike stopped.
"I am really pleased and excited to be racing at Motegi," said Akiyoshi. "It is my home circuit and I was doing well there last year before I had to retire. I have done many miles testing the 2008 GSV-R and now it will be good to race it - I cannot wait to get out there!"