Team Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins are fired up for their first outing of 2005 - at Sepang, Malaysia, from January 21st-24th - where they will have their first chance to ride the latest version of the GSV-R.

Former champion Roberts and rising star 'Hopper' desperately want to get back onboard the GSV-R and put the latest engine and chassis developments through their paces.

Race technicians at Suzuki's headquarters in Hammamatsu, Japan, have been working hard during the closed season to advance the improvements that the Bridgestone shod 990cc V4 showed towards the end of last year.

"I'm really looking forward to Sepang, it will be great to see what the guys in Japan have got for us," confirmed Kenny. "I've been working hard all through the winter break to get ready, my elbow feels 100 per cent and now my focus is totally on the first test."

"I just want to get out there and ride," offered Hopkins. "I'm excited about the new season and what Suzuki can achieve. I know I am as good as the other riders but I need to prove it and the first test is a good place to start."

Sepang will be the first time Roberts and Hopkins will work with new team manager Paul Denning, who takes over at the helm of the MotoGP team after winning the British Superbike Championship with Rizla Suzuki in 2004.

"Sepang is very important for us as it will be the first time the new team will get together," confirmed Denning. "I have been in close contact with the riders and other team crew throughout the last few months and look forward to seeing everyone together and forming a strong working relationship.

"We are under no illusions as to the effort required to get Suzuki challenging for the top positions, but the news from Japan on the GSV-R's development is very encouraging and we are keen to start work," he added.

Also joining Suzuki at Sepang is the vastly experienced Tom O'Kane, formerly of Team KR, who will be Roberts' new chief technician.

The Sepang test - at which all the factory MotoGP teams will be present - is the first in a gruelling schedule for Team Suzuki before the racing starts at Jerez in Spain on April 10th.

The team's pre-season testing programme will return to Sepang in February before going on to Phillip Island in Australia and then more tests in Europe.