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Rizla Suzuki racers prepare for home round

RIZLA SUZUKI'S Tom Sykes and Atsushi Watanabe simply can't wait to get on track at Thruxton on the 18th-20th April, following the cancellation of the first round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch due to heavy snow.

Thruxton is the Dorset based team's home round and both Rizla Suzuki racers are eager to please their local fans with a high speed display at the former wartime airfield. The Hampshire circuit boasts a 2.4 mile lap encompassing extremely high speed turns and an abrasive track surface. It is the fastest track in the championship and will pose a challenge to the determined squad.

Sykes can't wait to race his Rizla Suzuki for the first time after being denied the opportunity at Brands Hatch. "Thruxton is a circuit I really enjoy as it is fast and flowing," he said. "It is very abrasive so it has good grip but is hard on tyres. To string together a good lap you need to make sure once you are through the first turn that you make the following corners flow together. I try to be pin point accurate and very smooth. I'm really looking forward to it as it produces good racing. It is my team's home round so I will be trying my hardest like I do at every round - I'll give it 110 per cent."

Once again Watanabe will be learning the track as he progresses through the free practice sessions. He said: "Everyone tells me it is very fast corners, I think it will suit my style. My Rizla Suzuki will be geared for high speed I think I will like this track as it is very, very fast. It is Rizla Suzuki home round so I will try hard for my team and for me."

Team Manager, Jack Valentine is optimistic for a strong showing on home turf as he explained: "I think Thruxton will suit both of our riders. Tom will be fine there as he knows the track and I think Atsushi will soon get to grips with it as it is more open like the Japanese tracks that he is used to. It is very fast but I think he will feel at home, I'm sure he can pick up the pace just like he did at Brands Hatch.

"Thruxton is the fastest track that we visit and it is all fast, high revving corners which we will need to dial the bike into and tyres will be crucial as it is very abrasive. Our Rizla Suzukis will be fine at the circuit and we are looking for a podium finish," he continued. "There is a little more pressure as it is the team's home round and with Brands Hatch being cancelled it is our first proper race of the season. I want a good result for everyone I just hope that the weather will be kind to us."

Qualifying takes place on Saturday 19th April at 1415. Race one is at 1300 on Sunday 20th April with race two at 1530. British Eurosport will broadcast live on race day at 1230-1630.