Qatar MotoGP: Valentino Rossi backs Suzuki for success

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Reigning MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi has backed Suzuki to be the major surprise of 2009 ahead of the first race in Qatar this Sunday.

The Fiat Yamaha rider, who won nine races last year to reclaim the premier class crown, believes fellow Italian Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen could emerge as consistent podium challengers this season.

And 30-year-old Rossi has been so surprised by the performance of the new GSV-R that he reckons Capirossi and Vermeulen might even be able too fight for wins this season.

Capirossi and Vermeulen have been regulars inside the top five during winter testing with the new GSV-R benefiting from a radical overhaul.

The new bike features a revised V4 motor and chassis and significantly improved electronics package and Rossi told MCN: “Suzuki is clearly the biggest surprise of the winter. Last year Suzuki didn’t go very fast.

“They had some podiums but some other races where it was a big difference. Jerez was the third different track where the new bike is fast and it’s fast with Loris and with Vermeulen.

“They’ve done a good job and its good for MotoGP because we have another brand ready to fight for the podium and maybe also for the victory.”

Can Suzuki become regular podium contenders in 2009? Post a comment below.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt