Motorcycling: Suzuki to streamline racing

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SUZUKI YESTERDAY confirmed they would concentrate on the 500cc category in next year's world championship and abandon 250cc racing.

"It's not such a big deal; we only had a semi-works team in 250s this year, not a factory team," a spokesman said. "We will be making a renewed attack on the 500cc class because we've had a lot of success there in the past."

Suzuki, winners of the world manufacturers' title from 1976 to 1982, last won the 500cc riders' championship with the Texan, Kevin Schwantz, in 1993. They have recently lost out to Honda and Yamaha and did not win a race last season. They have never won a 250cc world crown and only returned to the category two seasons ago.

Their new signing, Kenny Roberts Jnr, will test the 500cc machine in Spain next week. The American, who rode this season in the Modenas team for his father, triple world champion Kenny Roberts, has joined the 1998 works rider, Nobuatsu Aoki, of Japan.