In a season which has rarely seen the Suzuki team rewarded for its efforts, Sunday at Sepang proved yet another set back, leaving lead rider Kenny Roberts Jr at rock bottom.

The 2000 World Champion had qualified a tempting tenth, but had set his sights simply on the apparently basic target of beating his 2002 lap times - at a circuit he and Suzuki have twice won at before.

However, in a turn of events which pretty much sum up Suzuki's whole season, the American's GSV-R engine management system went into 'self harm' mode, leaving KR Jr to limp home 14th - with a total race time just 4secs faster than a year ago.

Race winner Rossi was 37secs quicker than in 2002, that's the size of the task faced.

"We had some problems that are really not worth talking about. It would just sound the same as all year," said a dejected Kenny. "Basically I was prohibited from racing round in the 2:06s and 2:05s like I wanted to, so our situation is the same as it's been.

"We have to improve so greatly at this point it's difficult for me to comprehend what we have to do," he admitted, before going on record as saying the 2003 spec machine is beyond saving and that the ideas being tested on Akira Ryo's machine aren't much good either.

"Comparing my bike with Ryo's experimental bike, there's not a big difference. It seems that's the case whatever we do. We need a whole new package. We have to improve a lot," Roberts stated.

Wild-card team-mate Ryo finished 20th.



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