Suzuki set sights on top six challenge

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Suzuki is aiming to become a more consistent threat for the top six when the new MotoGP world championship kicks off in Qatar later this month.

Alvaro Bautista has impressed during winter testing so far as Suzuki has aimed to make the new factory GSV-R work in a much broader range of conditions.

Previously the V4 machine has only excelled in searing hot conditions but various chassis, geometry and weight distribution modifications have been introduced to help make the bike more competitive in cooler temperatures with low grip.

Bautista's best results in his rookie campaign in 2010 came with fifth places in Barcelona and Sepang, races that were run in extreme hot and humid conditions.

Looking ahead to the 2011 campaign, factory team boss Paul Denning told MCN: "Our aspirations are to be as competitive as we can. If we can have a bike that allows Alvaro show his true potential at every race, that's got to be the target, so he can expand his confidence. In terms of targeting a result, it just keeps getting tougher and tougher and the level of competitiveness is incredible. It is easy to say you should be fighting in the top six but take four factory Hondas, two Yamahas and two Ducatis and you're already seventh. We want to be in the fight and on a good weekend get as close to the podium as we can. I think we have got the rider to do that. I don't care who you are but if you have an off weekend you'll be tenth or worse. It is mega competitive."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt