February 22, 200
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra riders Troy Corser and Yukio Kagayama head to Qatar this weekend with their brand-new GSX-R1000 Suzuki's for the first round of the 2005 World Superbike Championship.
For former WSB Champion Corser and British Superbike number three Kagayama, it will be their first opportunity to see how the new machine performs under race conditions: In recent WSB Team tests at the middle-eastern circuit, Kagayama set the fastest overall lap time ahead of his team mate on the 2005 race bike.
The Losail circuit is a new purpose-built venue near Qatar¹s capital city Doha and features huge run-off areas designed with F1 in mind, but it will be the first time that WSB and Supersport have competed there.
"It is too early really to have a WSBK race because the team is still building the bikes and Yukio and I are still getting used to them and seeing what they can do. I am not saying that we will not be competitive right out of the crate, but, it's difficult to predict how it's going to go. At least nobody else has ridden there before, so we're all going to be in the same boat."
"For me it is good to start at a circuit no other rider has raced at, so I will not be disadvantaged that way. Of course, my problem is that I am still learning about Pirelli tyres and how they behave. This makes me a little behind most of my competitors, but it will not stop me from trying my hardest. It is the only way I know how to ride!"
JAVIER FORES - World Supersport:
"This is going to be a very interesting experience for us all. Last year, the GSX-R600 Suzuki was not as competitive as some of the other bikes, but our team has been working hard to make it as good as it can be. It is good that I can approach this race track for the first time like my competitors, so I hope that I can start the season with a positive and good result."