While rivals Yamaha, Ducati and Honda are testing at Jerez next week, Suzuki and Kawasaki will conduct their own final MotoGP test of 2008 at Phillip Island in Australia.

For Suzuki, Phillip Island has consistently represented its toughest track on the MotoGP calendar.

Chris Vermeulen took his first MotoGP podium at a wet Phillip Island in 2006, but the local star qualified just 16th in the dry and - without the intervention of the weather - the Australian circuit has taunted Suzuki's grand prix prototype ever since the start of the four-stroke era.

These are the results for the highest finishing Suzuki rider at Phillip Island since the start of the MotoGP class:

2002 - 9th (Roberts Jr)
2003 - 9th (Roberts Jr)
2004 - 15th (Hopkins)
2005 - 10th (Hopkins)
2006 - 2nd (Vermeulen)
2007 - 7th (Hopkins)
2008 - 10th (Capirossi)

In an attempt to make the 2009 GSV-R more competitive than this year's model - which took just three third-places, compared with eight podiums and one win for the '07 version - Suzuki has chosen to tackle its worst circuit head on, in the hope that progress at Phillip Island will be mirrored, or perhaps even magnified, at other tracks.

As such, Suzuki will arrive down under with a host of new parts - including aerodynamic developments recently tested by the Vermeulen and team-mate Loris Capirossi in a wind tunnel - all aimed at improving engine performance and rear grip around the high-speed circuit.

Capirossi and Vermeulen will be joined by Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki for the three day test.

"This will be a very important test for us as we will be able to see where we are at the moment for next year," said Capirossi. "Suzuki has been working really hard since the last test at Valencia and we will have lots of new parts to try out at Phillip Island. We have just done some wind tunnel testing in Japan and with the data we got there it will be interesting to see what the new aerodynamics will be like. We need to make the most of these three days as we don't have as many tests over the winter. It will also be good to have Nobu there to gives us some extra info and try out all the newest parts to see their durability and performance."

Despite being unable to compare their lap times directly with the MotoGP men-to-beat, Vermeulen believes the decision to test at Phillip Island instead of Jerez is the right one.

"It is good to be going to Phillip Island rather than Jerez, because I am sure the weather will be better and we'll be able to get a lot more work done," he said. "This is only the second test since the single tyre rule was introduced so it will be interesting to see how the new compound we now have to use performs at a circuit that is always tough on tyres.

"We have had some problems at Phillip Island, but if we find something that works well there then it will almost certainly work even better at other tracks," he confirmed. "It feels like a long while since we last tested the bike and it will be interesting to see all the new parts that the factory has got for us to try - hopefully they will be a big step in the right direction!"

Testing at both Phillip Island and Jerez starts on November 26 and will conclude before the MotoGP winter test ban starts on December 1.



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