News 26 Jun 2009

MotoGP: Second row for Suzuki's Capirossi, Vermeulen seventh

Rizla Suzuki:

Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi continued with his recent run of good form to force his way on to the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s Dutch TT at Assen.

Capirossi (P6, 1’36.953, 28 laps) made significant steps all the way throughout this afternoon’s hour-long qualifying practice and is confident that there is still more to come from his Suzuki GSV-R during tomorrow morning’s warm-up and the 26-lap race. Capirossi is in determined mood as he prepares for his first Dutch TT on a Suzuki.

Vermeulen (P7, 1’37.194, 31 laps) will start just behind his team-mate as he lines up for tomorrow’s race at the front of the third row. Vermeulen and his crew made some big steps in the qualifying session and with an amazing 31 laps of the 4,555m circuit completed in the hour, he equalled the busiest rider on track as he made sure he used every available minute to get the best from his Suzuki GSV-R.

Today’s qualifying was held in warm but very overcast conditions with the threat of rain always in the air. World Championship leader Valentino Rossi on his Factory Yamaha set the fastest time to take pole position.

Capirossi and Vermeulen will line up their Rizla Suzuki GSV-R’s on the grid for tomorrow’s race at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT), when the lights will change to go for the only MotoGP race held on a Saturday.

Loris Capirossi:

“Overall we have made another step with the setting and I am quite happy about that, but we still need to take another step tomorrow morning in the warm-up. The whole team is working really hard and they really understand what I need. I am still losing a bit of front feeling, but it’s not that bad and I think it is something we can overcome. Second row is not too bad and we will have to see what sort of start we get and try to keep with the front pack. I am quite optimistic for tomorrow because if we make the small step we are looking for we will be right up there challenging!”

Chris Vermeulen:

“It was a fairly good qualifying for us and a lot better than the previous two GPs. The team did a great job and made a big step forward with the bike. We went well on both the compounds of tyres today and the softer one gave quite a bit more grip at the rear so we used that to do the qualifying laps on. We were able to do seven or eight laps on them and they stayed very consistent which shows what a good job Bridgestone are doing. Unfortunately on my last run we were a bit close on time and I thought I’d get in one more lap, sadly I wasn’t able to, but I am sure I would have improved my time – and hopefully grid position – because I made a couple of mistakes on my previous lap – which was my fastest – and I’m sure I’d have put them right Seventh place is a bit closer to the front than we have been recently and I’m feeling quite confident and looking forward to a good race tomorrow.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“It’s been extremely close amongst the fastest riders here at Assen this weekend and we’ve managed to get closer to the front group in qualifying than we were in free practice. I think there are still some sizeable improvements we can make tomorrow to increase the confidence of both riders. Whatever happens with the bike – or indeed the weather – when you start in sixth and seventh places it gives you a much better chance to hang on to the back of the leaders in the early laps and see how the race develops. We don’t have any specific aim for the race tomorrow other than to give Loris and Chris the best GSV-Rs we possible can and ask them to push to the maximum.”

Alice TT Assen Qualifying Practice Classification:

1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’36.025: 2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +0.085: 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.368: 4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) +0.608: 5. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) +0.735: 6. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.928: 7. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.169: