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Suzuki targets `massive leap forward`.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP is aiming to make a 'massive leap forward' next season, after concluding the 2008 world championship with Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi just eighth and tenth in the riders' standings.

This season has seen the GSV-R take a step backwards relative to its leading rivals and Sunday's 18th and final round, at Valencia, saw Capirossi and Vermeulen finish in just ninth and 13th places - costing the team fourth in the teams' championship to the satellite Tech 3 Yamaha squad.

The 2008 Suzuki, known to lack top speed, took just three podium finishes - compared with eight (including one victory) for the 2007 model. Suzuki also dropped 60 points in the constructors' championship and 120 points in the teams' championship, relative to last season.

"I had chosen a soft compound and it started to move a little bit under braking and then the edge grip started to drop off a bit on the rear and I had to change my rhythm," said Capirossi, who slipped steadily backwards from sixth on lap one. "I tried to defend my position but Lorenzo got me on the straight and I couldn't do anything about it.

"This is now the last race and we have to start working hard for next year, I am a bit upset that we won't have as many tests in the winter because we have a lot to do on the bike. I am sure Suzuki will work hard to help us because we still need to improve a lot," he warned.

Vermeulen took a gamble on using harder compound race tyres as the track temperatures rose to 30ºC, but it didn't pay off.

"With the hotter temperatures we gambled with tyres and it was probably the wrong decision because from the first lap I really struggled to get feeling out of the tyres," said the Australian. "It didn't really get any better throughout the race so it made it very difficult for me to even keep the bike upright - as well as going as quick as I could.

"At the end of the race I was quicker than a few of the guys in front of me, but I was still a long way behind where we need to be. The engine just didn't have enough on the one long straight, but for the test tomorrow Suzuki has brought a lot of parts for us to try, and fingers crossed they'll be good parts and take us a good step forward," he revealed.

Rizla Suzuki will join its rivals in remaining at Valencia for a two-day test, where work will begin on next year's GSV-R.

"From today the most positive thing to happen is that we now start work on the 2009 season straight away," said team manager Paul Denning.

"The bike is not a bad package at all, but there are a couple of restrictions that are hindering the riders over race distance. We know the strong points of the GSV-R - and the weak points are extremely clear as well. Suzuki, and the team, is fully committed to taking a massive leap forward next season.

"I'd like to thank everybody involved with the team for their sterling efforts in 2008, the level of commitment has never faltered - regardless of the situation - and if we continue with that attitude we have a great chance of turning things around in 2009," he insisted.

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paul 27

October 27, 2008 9:59 AM

Suzuki's race dept is tiny even compared to Ducati's so they do ok and their expectations are obviously mid pack with good PR,they even sponsor MotoGP on Eurosport (well thats finished now). The fault with the Suzuki MotoGP team is a big name rider. Shwantz and Roberts JR are the biggest talents they have had in recent times and both delivered. Forget Spies he a money chaser like Hopper, Suzuki should get hold of Simoncelli or Bautista fast.

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