So far, the four-strokes have held the advantage in the 2002 MotoGP season - but only narrowly at some tracks, and next weekends Czech GP will be at the fast and flowing Brno circuit, where its high-speed corners might tip the balance towards the two-strokes.

Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau have been showing improving form from the start of the year, riding the new GSV-R - a 990cc V4 four-stroke. The bike was brought out a full year earlier than originally planned, after showing tremendous potential in first prototype form before the start of the season.

The Brno circuit, more than 3.3 miles (5.4km) long, poses an interesting challenge for the MotoGP stars. In line with the other powerful new four-stroke pure-bred racing prototypes, still in first-generation form, the GSV-R is up against the well-established 500cc two-strokes, with years of experience and development. So far, the four-strokes have had the advantage - but Suzuki's Garry Taylor believes that could change in the Czech Republic.

"The strong point of the four-strokes comes in acceleration, where they can use their extra power," explained team manager Garry Taylor. "Brno is a track where speeds are high for almost the whole lap, with more corners than straights, and the lighter two-strokes may have a valuable corner speed advantage.

"At the same time, our bike has been improving so fast, with the factory working all hours to develop it from first prototype stage. We'll have the benefit of yet more development that took place during the break," continued Taylor.

"This is the first time at the track for all the four-strokes, so we'll find out how we stand when we get there. This uncertainty has made this first MotoGP season fascinating and unpredictable for the teams, riders and especially the fans. From our point of view, we'll be doing everything we can to give our riders the best possible equipment for the job."

Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki will be staying on for two days after the GP to test the latest technical developments, before moving on Portugal before the four flyaway GPs, and the end of the season at Valencia in November.

 

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