Rizla Suzuki has announced that four new members will join the team this month, giving it more strength in depth as it goes for British Superbike glory in 2004.

The team starts the 2004 season as title favourites with double BSB Champion John Reynolds and fans' favourite Yukio Kagayama piloting its awesome GSX-R1000s, and the latest recruitments are aimed at helping the outfit become as competitive as possible when the racing starts at Silverstone, on March 28th.

Rizla Suzuki retains the vastly experienced Dave Marton as JR's chief technician and the team's head of engine development, but will now be joined by Stewart Johnstone who will be chief technician for Yukio Kagayama.

The 38-year-old has more than 20-years experience in the bike racing world, and has worked with riders of the calibre of Neil Hodgson, James Toseland, Chris Walker, Troy Bayliss, Niall Mackenzie, Terry Rymer, Iain Macpherson and Jim Moodie. He's also worked with JR before - in 1992 when he claimed the British Superbike title.

"We won the BSB title in 1992 with JR and then again in 1999 with Troy Bayliss and 2000 with Neil Hodgson," explained Johnstone. "While I think JR is certainly a favourite for the BSB Championship, I think that if Yuki comes back to the team fully recovered from his injuries, then he will be a very strong contender as well. I hope to be able to help Rizla Suzuki to the title this season."

Johnstone will be working closely with new chassis technician for Yuki, Mark Hanna, another experienced race mechanic with a flair for making bikes handle just the way their riders want them to.

The 37 year old has worked with Sean Emmett, John Crawford and Paul Brown in the past, as well as winning a 600cc European Championship with Jan Hannsen.

"I will be trying to get inside Yuki's head and figure out exactly what he needs to perform at his best," said Hanna. "I have never met Yuki but I know he is a hard and determined rider and I'll match that. I'm determined to put together a bike he can win on. Working for this team is great, it the most professional squad in BSB."

Joining the team as back-up to the riders and technicians is new technical co-ordinator Simon Green. The 36-year-old has a history with Crescent and motorcycle racing: As Chief Technician, he won the 2001 British Supersport title with Crescent and Karl Harris.

Green worked for Crescent from 1999 - 2002 and has been involved in motorcycle racing since 1990. He's also worked with other riders like James Haydon and John Crawford.

"I make sure that the team has everything it needs to do the job properly," he explained. "All the logistics, from ordering parts to dealing with stocking levels are important parts of my job. I also help out with sponsors and because I have a background as a Chief Technician, I am able to help hands-on at the weekends if required. I am currently helping out with developing the wiring looms and slipper clutches, so I'll definitely be getting my hands dirty."

Supporting the entire team is new race team co-ordinator Caroline Young. After spending 10-years managing nightclubs in Brighton, arguably the party capital of the UK, and then working in administration at a legal firm, she should have all the skills necessary to organise the team's administration and encourage a good time in the process.

"I really only took the job so I could go to the races every weekend," quipped Young. "My father used to take me to all sorts of bike races and I was bitten by the bug, I just love it. I am looking forward to being part of a winning team in British Superbikes!"

 

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