Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Good Friday for Hopkins in first day of Jerez test

With menacing dark clouds circling the Jerez circuit throughout the whole day,
Team Suzuki's John Hopkins sent a warning shot down the pit lane as he set the
fastest time in the first day of three at the Official MotoGP Test today. The
Californian rider was constantly amongst the fastest riders during the whole
day, and with the track somehow staying dry and avoiding the nearby showers, he
took advantage of a late burst to steal top spot on the timesheets.

"Suzuki has made some huge improvements to the machine; controllability and
horsepower especially, and it's showing up nicely at this track," commented
Hopkins. "It's a track I particularly like anyway, and the important thing is
we're doing our times strictly on race tyres, no qualifiers. I personally think
the race tyres are better at the moment, Bridgestone has made big improvements
too. Everything's looking good, and I'm definitely the hungriest guy in this
paddock for a podium finish right now, so we're doing everything possible to
prepare for the race here in two weeks time."

Weather forecasts predict rain-showers for the entire day tomorrow, and if that
is the case, it will be impossible to better Hopkins lap, which stop ped the
clock in a time of 1'40.893. Just 0.075 slower than the outright circuit record
set by Valentino Rossi in qualifying last year, it is an impressive start to the
weekend for the Ramona-born rider, who admitted, "If it rains tomorrow we will
go out on track anyway, we need to work on the new wet tyres Bridgestone have.
It rained here for the race last year, and we don't want that to repeat itself
in two weeks."

Hopkins' compatriot Nicky Hayden also enjoyed a good start to the weekend, with
the second fastest time, ahead of former team-mate Valentino Rossi, who appears
to be shaking off the front-end issues which dogged his Yamaha in last week's
Official Test in Barcelona. Closely following the Italian on the timesheet was
his great rival Sete Gibernau, who won the race here last year, with a further
four riders within a second of Hopkins lap time - including both Kawasaki

Further down the order Loris Capirossi continued to make headway with the Ducati
Desmosedici's modified engine braking system, which continued to baffle
onlookers. The Italian tested the new machine in the morning, before
concentrating on his more traditional sounding engine in the afternoon. His
fellow countryman Max Biaggi was surprisingly only fifteenth fastest today as he
battled to rectify issues with the Honda's engine management system, but he will
be confident the engineers can resolve his problems before the test finishes
here on Sunday, and the countdown begins to the first race here in two weeks'

INFO 2005/16. 25-03-2005