News 14 Jun 2009

MotoGP: Rizla Suzuki has work to do after tough qualifying

Rizla Suzuki PR:

Rizla Suzuki racers Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen will start tomorrow’s Catalunya Grand Prix side-by-side on the fourth row of the grid following a sweltering qualifying session at Montmelo today.

The two Suzuki riders posted almost identical lap-times during this afternoon’s qualifying session – Capirossi getting the better of Vermeulen by only 0.046 seconds – to give them 11th and 12th places respectively on the grid. Both riders know that a good start is critical in tomorrow’s race if they want to battle at the front and are confident that there is more to come from both them and their machines.

Capirossi (1’43.365, 23 laps) looked good on the harder compound tyres – which will almost certainly be the choice for tomorrow’s race – at the start of the session and recorded race-pace times in the top-six He will certainly be aiming to make up for lost ground in this afternoon’s qualifying during the early part of tomorrow’s 25-lap race.

Vermeulen (1’43.411, 27 laps) was one of the busiest men on the track today with only one other rider completing more laps of the 4,727m Montmelo circuit, and he was frustrated at not being able to push harder on his final run as front grip became a restriction.

Today’s qualifying was held in very warm conditions as the track temperatures soared to a season high of 56ÂșC – a welcome and amazing comparison to some of the cold and wet conditions that MotoGP has endured this season. Local hero Jorge Lorenzo on his Factory Yamaha will start from pole position.

Tomorrow’s race is round six on the MotoGP calendar and the action gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Loris Capirossi:
“It has been pretty hard today. We tried a different setting this morning and although we improved a little bit it wasn’t enough to put us in a good position for tomorrow. My impression is that our race pace is better than our qualifying and it was difficult for us to go much quicker on the softer tyres than we did on the harder compound. We will have to see what happens tomorrow, but the bike is working quite well and we have a good rhythm. The race tyre is working well so we are optimistic, but we are starting a little bit back so this will make it hard. We know we can do well off the line and have a good race.”

Chris Vermeulen:
“It has been really difficult today with the hot track temperatures and the limited amount of hard front tyres that we have. We did all of qualifying on the same front tyre and I did 27-laps so it was not ideal to try to do a faster lap on it at the end. We struggled a bit with grip and that’s what we are going to have to concentrate on tomorrow to get a good life out of the tyres. The guys did a good job on the bike, we made a big step forward with the chassis and I feel a lot more comfortable on it than I did yesterday.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The fourth row is not where we want to be and the qualifying result is disappointing. We’ve been working hard to get a better balance into the bike and give both guys more confidence – particularly in the fast corners in the final sector – and whilst the situation improved that is still our biggest restriction, and is something we will focus on in the warm-up tomorrow. I think our race-pace is better than the qualifying positions indicate and Loris made the same lap-times on the hard tyres at the start of the qualifying session as he did on the softer ones at the end. Both the guys will need to be super aggressive from the start to enable them to fight for top-six place – which is our target tomorrow.”

Gran Premio Cinzano de Catalunya Qualifying Classification:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’41.974: 2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +0.013: 3. Casy Stoner (Ducati) +0.452: 4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +0.620: 5. Toni Elias (Honda) +1.165: 11. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.391: 12. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.437: