News 15 Jun 2009

MotoGP: Capirossi top Suzuki with solid fifth, Vermeulen 11th

Rizla Suzuki:

A League of Their Own movie

Rizla Suzuki racer Loris Capirossi rode a terrific race at Montmelo in Catalunya today, to score a superb fifth position after an exciting 25-lap race.

Capirossi got a great start from 11th on the grid and was up into seventh by the end of the first lap. He set his fastest lap of the race on lap five as he also moved up to sixth place.

Capirossi was then involved in a long battle with Dani Pedrosa before finally getting the better of the Spaniard on lap 17. The duel had cost him valuable time and Capirossi was unable to make up any more places as he brought his Suzuki GSV-R home for his second successive fifth place.

Chris Vermeulen had a tough race as he was boxed in early on in and relegated down to 16th from 12th on the grid. Vermeulen again showed his true racer spirit – and although he felt he never really got into a good rhythm – he gradually picked off riders one-by-one to get up to 11th when the chequered flag dropped.

The bright sunshine of this weekend gave way to cloud cover for most of this afternoon’s race, but air temperatures still stayed in the mid-30s and the crowd of over 88,000 at trackside were treated to a great battle at the front between World Champion Valentino Rossi and local hero Jorge Lorenzo, with Rossi getting the better of his Yamaha team-mate on the final corner to secure victory.

Rizla Suzuki will now stay at Montmelo for an exhaustive day of testing that is planned for tomorrow, before heading to Assen in the Netherlands for the Dutch TT to be held on Saturday 27th June.

Loris Capirossi:
“This was the same position as Mugello, but this is a different one because we have worked so hard to get this and it is a great result. All the team – especially Stuart – have worked so hard to get us where we are today. After qualifying I didn’t feel that the bike was quite right and Stuart worked with the guys until late to find a solution. He told me that he was going to make big changes for the race and we tried it during this morning’s warm-up and the bike felt really good. During the race I kept my rhythm after a good start and when I got close to Pedrosa I lost some time off the front guys because his bike was so fast in some places I couldn’t get past, and he held me up a bit. If I hadn’t got stuck for a few laps I think I could have stayed with the next group and got a better result. I want to say a big thank-you to Suzuki because they have brought a new engine here and it was an improvement on the old one – I think if I’d had that engine in Mugello I’d have been on the podium! Most of all I want to thank all my guys individually Stuart, Ian, Gary, Jeff, George, Tex and Jez all did a great job and without them I wouldn’t have got that result today!”

Chris Vermeulen:
“It was a difficult race and although I got a good start I got a bit boxed in and found myself at the wrong end of the field. We made a change to the front-end of the bike for the race and that was a bit better and it gave me the confidence to push a bit harder. We did score some points today, but it is not where we want to be. We now to some tracks that have been good for us in recent seasons so I hope we get a bit of luck there and put together some good results.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Fifth place can be either very disappointing – as it was in Mugello – or very encouraging and positive – as it was today. We left ourselves a bit of a mountain to climb after qualifying, but Stuart and the boys turned the bike upside down for warm-up this morning and we gave Loris a much stronger motorcycle, and he was able to use its full potential as he rode a fantastic race. I think if we’d started with that bike on Friday we could have pushed for a better result. The new engine specification definitely helped, and although the difference isn’t big, it’s enough to have a significant bearing on the end result. So I’d like to say thanks to the Factory for speeding up the development and delivering it to Catalunya this weekend.

“On Chris’s side he’s been up against it all weekend and has struggled to get the same feeling or performance level that he achieved last year. The effort from him was 100% – as always – and rather than sling the bike at the fence he kept fighting to the end and brought it home in the best position possible. He’s now coming up to a couple of tracks that he’s really confident at and we’re certain he will achieve much better results.”