Professional rider on closed course competition.

SUZUKI TAKES SUCCESS TO JAPAN

May 16, 2006

Team Suzuki Press Office – May 16, 2006.

After podiums in the last three rounds of the 2006 FIM MX1 World Championship Team Suzuki expect to continue their positive streak with the RM-Z450 this weekend at the Sugo circuit for the Grand Prix of Japan.

For the second successive year, Sugo will host the Japanese event that also represents the fifth round of 15 in the series. The 2005 edition witnessed some of the best racing of last season with five riders battling for the lead in the second moto. The action was facilitated by the excellent track and terrain that is well-prepared, soft and with some interesting jump combinations.

Kevin Strijbos is currently in the midst of his best spell of MX1 results. Runner-up positions from the last two races have lifted him to third in the championship standings. The 20 year old Belgian will be making his first trip to Asia after missing the Grand Prix last season through injury.

Steve Ramon captured his first pole position for Suzuki two weeks ago in Germany but a podium was ruled out after a first corner crash. The former World Champion scored fifth place overall at Sugo 12 months ago and is looking forward to re-visiting the venue.

Sugo, some 20kms outside of the city of Sendai, was a new addition to the 2005 World Championship calendar 10 years after the last Japanese Grand Prix had taken place at Suzuka. Joel Smets was able place the RM-Z450 on the podium with third position overall last year. The team have already crated and sent their machinery while a visit to the factory for both riders is scheduled for Monday.

The weather forecast for the weekend over the nearby Sendai predicts cloudy and overcast conditions.

Kevin Strijbos:

“I am excited to go to Sugo and also the Suzuki factory even though it is a long trip! I watched the race last year on TV and the track looks like a lot of fun. I feel good at the moment and the two podiums have helped with my confidence. I believe I am getting better every week and I hope for another top three in Japan.”

Steve Ramon:

“The Sugo track is good and enjoyable to ride. Last year’s GP was not too bad for me and I liked that the terrain so well prepared; it became loose and that was good for grip. It is nice to travel to Japan and I am looking forward to going. I am not a big fan of the food but it is special to go there. Now that I am a Suzuki rider there is obviously extra interest in going to Japan and visiting the factory on the Monday after the race will be nice.”

Current MX1 World Championship standings: 1 Stefan Everts, (BEL) 192, 2 Tanel Leok, (EST) 152, 3 Kevin Strijbos, (BEL) 138, 4 Ken de Dycker, (BEL) 133, 5 Jonathan Barragan, (SPA) 117, 6 Steve Ramon, (BEL) 111, 7 Sebastien Tortelli, (FRA) 99, 8 Pascal Leuret, (FRA) 93, 9 Cedric Melotte, (BEL) 84, 10 Manuel Priem, (BEL) 72.

For more stories about Steve Ramon, click here. For photos, click here.
For more stories about Kevin Strijbos, click here. For photos, click here.

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