News 6 Jul 2009

MotoGP: Points for Suzuki's Vermeulen after tough U.S. round

RIZLA SUZUKI: Jackass Number Two

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Rizla Suzuki racer Chris Vermeulen recovered from an early race set-back and managed to fight his way through the field to finish eighth at the U.S. GP today.

Vermeulen started from ninth on the grid and was edged out as the pack went into the first turn, finding himself down in eleventh place. He then got boxed out on lap two by team-mate Loris Capirossi and Colin Edwards and was relegated down to 14th place. Vermeulen battled back – and although he also benefitted from a couple of riders crashing in front of him – Vermeulen also managed to put in passes to get inside the top 10. His race pace was good enough for a top five position today and but for the tough start he encountered, things could have been considerably different for the Australian.

Capirossi had a race today that summed up his difficult weekend. He got a good start and was up to eighth position and still in touch with the front group after the first three laps, but on the fourth lap disaster struck for the Italian star. As he pushed hard to keep in touch with the leaders he lost the front end of his Suzuki GSV-R on the fast turn six and ended in the gravel. Capirossi was able to remount his machine after suffering no injuries, but the damage to his bike was too substantial and all he could do was ride back to the pits and retire.

Today’s race was watched by over 46,000 fans at trackside, and they were treated to a great battle at the front with Dani Pedrosa on his factory Honda taking a flag-to-flag win, despite coming under intense pressure at the end of the race from Valentino Rossi, who himself was pushed all the way to the finish by Jorge Lorenzo.

Rizla Suzuki now heads back across the Atlantic as it returns to Europe for the next round of the MotoGP World Championship at Sachsenring in Germany on Sunday 19th July.

Chris Vermeulen:
“It was a difficult race and we didn’t end up where we wanted to be. I got quite a good start but then got boxed in on turn one and lost a few positions. I was battling with Loris and Colin and got caught up with them and came out of it the worse, and ended up in about 14th place. We also struggled a bit with tyre performance today and didn’t get the ultimate performance out of the bike. From about lap 15 and right to the end my times were quite quick and when everybody’s tyre dropped down – including mine – it was a lot easier to ride the bike. We just didn’t really have the performance with the new tyres and it’s something that has affected us before this year and is certainly something we will have to look at. The plus is that I stayed upright all day today – which was good – and although we didn’t have the best package out there we still managed to score some decent points and now we need to move forward in Germany.”

Loris Capirossi:
“I am really upset about today, because we have worked so hard this weekend to find the best solution and we thought we would be ok with the setting today. I started quite well and was really aggressive in the first couple of laps, but in turn six I lost the front on the second lap and then on the next lap I did the same in the same place, but this time I crashed. I am really sorry for the whole team because they have worked so hard this week. The truth is this has been a terrible weekend for me as we never really found a good solution. Fortunately we have another nine races in front of us and we will keep working really hard to get some good results.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The result today was not at all what we were looking for from the Laguna GP. Chris really struggled to get enough heat into the tyres in the early laps and it was always going to be an uphill struggle for him to come back from 14th. He pushed hard to get back to eighth and he had the speed and the lap-times to be in the fifth position group, but it was impossible for him to achieve that from so far back.

“Loris suffered from the same grip problems as Chris at the start of the race, but was pushing really hard and the good news is that he is completely unhurt after losing the front in turn six – one of the scariest and fastest turns here at Laguna. It was a 32-lap race and we were 32 seconds off the win. One second a lap doesn’t sound much, but it is a big gap to bridge and we need to do everything we can to get closer to the front guys as soon as possible!”

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