Originally built by Yamaha as a test track in 1975, Sugo not only features a fully functioning 3.737km road race layout but also a vast array of other motorsport and leisure facilities.

A 40-minute drive from the city of Sendai in northeast Japan, the twisty and undulating circuit is located in a picturesque mountainside setting, making the Sugo experience as beautiful as it is challenging for the teams.

Featuring huge changes of elevation and some highly committed downhill corner entries, Sugo rewards a machine with excellent handling and high levels of corner exit traction. One peculiarity of Sugo is the power-sapping drive out of the Last Corner, featuring a long and curving uphill gradient towards the finish line.

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With the 2003 R6 featuring 90 per cent new components, the Yamaha teams will have to use previous Sugo set-up data as a guide, rather than a work of reference.

The teams have also been developing the bikes since the last race in Australia, as Maio Meregalli, Team Manager of Yamaha Belgarda Team explains. ''We have a new close-ratio gearbox and we will use shorter overall gearing. We are also preparing an extra bike for wild-card rider Tekkyu Kayo. It has already been dyno tested and will soon be on its way to Japan.''

Yamaha Motor Germany riders Teuchert and Kellner will be utilising a new gearbox of their own, in addition to making some chassis changes. ''We will be bringing some new rear shocks to try and aid rear traction,'' said Team Manager Terrell Thien. ''We also changed the front fork internals because there are a lot of stop-go corners at Sugo, whereas Phillip Island is very fluid. Sugo is very technical so there will be more fork travel available but with firmer settings to help under braking.

''We have just taken delivery of some newly developed front discs from our supplier, Braking, and we have changed to SBS brake pads for reasons of performance and longevity,'' added Thien. ''We have no problems with the midrange engine performance but since Phillip Island we have also found something new with our Motec EFI system giving us a little bit more top end power.''