Suzuki confirms new Rizla MotoGP deal

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Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen will continue to run in Rizla colours for the 2009 MotoGP world championship.

The Japanese factory has confirmed today (Monday) that the British-based team will continue to run in Rizla’s striking blue colours for a fourth successive season in a deal that was finalised last month.

The new contract is a one-year extension on the existing deal and comes after months of negotiations.

Capirossi and Vermeulen’s GSV-R machines will retain Rizla backing after a stunning start to winter testing.

Veteran Italian Capirossi finished third quickest in the first test of 2009 in Sepang and both impressed during the night test session in Qatar earlier this month.

The team will finish its pre-season preparations in Jerez on March 28/29 before heading back to the Middle East for the season’s opening race in Qatar on April 12.

Team boss Paul Denning said: “This is very positive news for Suzuki to continue our partnership with Rizla in today’s current difficult climate. We have enjoyed a very close relationship, both on and off the track, with Rizla during the past three years and have certainly considered all the representatives of Rizla as part of the team.

“Our on track performance during the first two tests has also been very encouraging and shows how much hard work the factory has put in during the off-season.

“The GSV-R has certainly come a long way since last year and we know there is still more to come – Chris and Loris were both very impressed with the new bike, but we know there is still a lot of work to do.

“The Suzuki team will continue to work hard to keep improving, and we are very positive about our prospects for 2009 in partnership with Rizla.”

Graham Blashill,  Group Sales & Marketing Director for Imperial Tobacco added: “In difficult economic times, it is even more important to continue to support major brands and excellence in sport.

“Rizla and Suzuki are global brands committed to providing top quality and innovative products, and we are pleased to be continuing our partnership.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt