John Hopkins will be riding his Suzuki GSV-R on Bridgestone tyres for next years MotoGP season.
Suzuki is a long term partner of Michelin tyres but the GP team announced the switch as part of a move to speed up the development of the GSV-R for the 2004 season.
The move to Bridgestone will allow Suzuki closer links to it tyre development. Both the companies are based in Japan and Bridgestone has promised Suzuki a closer working relationship than it ever could have had with the French tyre firm and most importantly there will be far more opportunity to test the new tyres.
Hopkins has already had his first taste of the new rubber when he tested the tyres on a 2003 spec GSV-R in Sepang, Malaysia this weekend (November 28-30). The test was cut short on the first day when the rain came down, but after completing 60 laps the second day Hopkins was impressed with the way the new tyres handle in the range of conditions they got to see.
Hopkins: "I was impressed from the first laps. Tyres are so important so I have to admit I was a little concerned about what I might find. Right away the grip was good, and when we started racking up more laps the tyres were consistent. I was able to get to lap times definitely competitive with what we had earlier in the year. It's going to be real interesting to work with these guys."
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