Chris Vermeulen will continue to fly the 'Rizla blue' in 2009 after Suzuki and the Imperial Tobacco Group agreed to continue their MotoGP partnership.
Suzuki Motor Corporation and Imperial Tobacco Group are pleased to announce that they have agreed terms for Rizla - the world’s leading rolling papers - to continue to be the title sponsor of the Japanese company’s MotoGP team for 2009.
Rizla has been the title sponsor of the Suzuki Grand Prix motorcycle race team for the past three seasons and a further one-year extension will see Suzuki MotoGP stars Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen racing the distinctive ‘Rizla blue' Suzuki GSV-Rs during this season's championship. This is further positive news for Suzuki, following on from two successful tests in 2009 at Sepang in Malaysia and recently at Losail in Qatar.
Capirossi and Vermeulen both had equally impressive tests as they were consistently inside the top six at both venues and showed big improvements at the two circuits compared to last year's performances. Both riders benefited from many new developments to this year's Suzuki GSV-R, including changes to aerodynamics, chassis, engine and suspension.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will next be in track action at Jerez in Spain at the end of March for the Official MotoGP test, which also includes a televised session. The first race of the year will be a night event, when Rizla Suzuki MotoGP returns to Losail on Sunday, April 12th.
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"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 - Imperial Tobacco Group Sales & Marketing Director:
"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."