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Suzuki seeks podium as points plummet.

By almost any measure, 2008 has been a disappointing season for Rizla Suzuki, which has lost significant ground in the MotoGP riders', teams' and constructors' championships relative to last year.

A strong performance during the first season of 800cc racing saw Suzuki collect eight podiums, 241 constructors' points (fourth) and 368 teams' points (third) in 2007 - including one race win for Chris Vermeulen and fourth in the championship for John Hopkins

But heading into this weekend's Valencia season finale, the 2008 GSV-R has been capable of only three podiums, 174 constructors' points (fourth) and 238 teams' points (fourth). Vermeulen is the leading Suzuki rider with in eighth in the world championship, although sixth place is still mathematically possible.

Whilst Suzuki's decline isn't quite as bad as Kawasaki's - which has dropped from one podium, 144 constructors' points (fifth) and 176 teams' points (seventh) last year to zero podiums, 86 constructors' points (fifth) and 110 teams' points (ninth) this year - it's still been a bitterly disappointing season and a strong result this weekend would be a welcome boost as attention turns to Suzuki's 2009 machine.

"I think Valencia will be good for us because it is not really a quick track and our bike is good for handling and braking - so we hope to go really well!" said Loris Capirossi, currently tenth but with a mathematical chance of seventh in the final 2008 standings.

"We understand that the weather can sometimes be very difficult there because it can be quite cold, but I believe we can go really fast in Valencia. It is the last race and is a good opportunity to start working on how we want to continue next year," he added.

Vermeulen finished sixth at Valencia in 2007 – directly behind Capirossi - and will be looking to improve on that position as the curtain falls on his third full season in MotoGP.

"Valencia is a great circuit and it suits our bike well with it not having very long straights," confirmed Chris. "The Suzuki works well on the tight and twisty type of circuit and last year we were very quick there and I am really looking forward to going back. Hopefully we can stand on the podium one more time this year, because that is the plan and I really think it is possible!"

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Rossco - Unregistered

October 24, 2008 1:18 AM

Vermuelen is a rider who is capable on the right bike of a top 6 finish, he is not in the class of say Stoner or Rossi or even Pedrosa or Lorenzo but he has said the bike has some undesirable traits like the way it makes it's power and the bike does not like fast corners. I am not sure the bike is all bad but perhaps like Kawasaki it needs a change of team to run the bikes after all it is the team which sets the bike up. As for the Yamaha being that bad when Rossi took it over, Jeremy Burgess told a group of motorcycle enthusiasts in Australia it took 3 hours of testing to get the bike something like Rossi wanted it, see what I mean about a good team!

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