News 18 Jul 2009

MotoGP: Tough start for Rizla Suzuki riders at Sachsenring


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Rizla Suzuki racer Loris Capirossi made a promising start during the first practice session at Sachsenring in Germany, whilst team-mate Chris Vermeulen was left nursing bumps and bruises following a big high-side crash.

Capirossi (P12, 1’23.705, 27 laps) found vital information during the hour long session which he is sure will enable him to improve dramatically over the weekend. He is less than a second from the fastest time of the day and is in a confident mood as he prepares to put the data to good use as soon as he takes to the track tomorrow.

Vermeulen (P16. 1’25.161, 19 laps) had a session he would rather forget. After starting this afternoon on the wet set-up bike, he immediately ran into some issues that forced him back to the garage and to miss a part of the session. As the track dried out – following an earlier thunderstorm – Vermeulen took to the circuit on his Suzuki GSV-R and quickly made improvements that started to see his lap-times come down. After coming in to make further changes he returned to the track and went quicker again, but then disaster struck as he hit one of the wet patches still on the 3,671m German track. Vermeulen lost traction from his rear wheel and at first it looked like he would slide into the gravel, but the rear tyre then gripped and viciously threw Vermeulen high in the air causing him to land hard on his hip that he had previously injured at Laguna Seca in the last race. He was able to walk away from the accident – although in obvious pain – and will certainly be doing all he can overnight to make sure he is fit to ride tomorrow.

This afternoon’s session was held on a damp, but drying track after a huge thunderstorm soaked the circuit just before the start of proceedings. All riders started on wet tyres, but changed about half-way through to slicks as the track dried out to give enough grip. Today’s fastest time was set by Casey Stoner on his factory Ducati.

Rizla Suzuki has one more practice session tomorrow morning with an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday’s 30-lap race is round nine of the MotoGP World Championship and the lights go out to signal the start at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Loris Capirossi:

“The conditions today were very strange, because we started with wet tyres and after about half-of-an-hour it was good enough to change to dry ones. I stayed out as long as I could to try and find a good rhythm with just a basic setting so we could understand how the bike was working. We found out a lot of information that will certainly help us to work in the best way possible tomorrow. Although we are 12th – which is a pretty poor position – we do have a lot of data to use tomorrow and I think we will make some big improvements.”

Chris Vermeulen:

“It has not been the start to the weekend that I would have wanted! The weather wasn’t ideal and we went out on the wet bike at the beginning, but I had an issue with that and missed a bit of the session. The guys seemed to overcome the problem and I was able to go back out and do a few more laps in the damp conditions. About half-way through we went out on slicks – even though it was still a bit patchy in places – and we were making steps with the bike. I went back out towards the end of the hour and the bike was a big step forward, which helped me get my lap-time down. As I was going across one of the puddles I think I was pushing a bit too hard and had a bit of a slide and crashed. I landed on the same side that I injured in Laguna so I’m not in the best of conditions, but I am sure I’ll be fine tomorrow and we’ll make some big steps forward.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“The most important thing from today is that Chris wasn’t badly injured in his crash, and despite aggravating the injuries from Laguna Seca, there doesn’t appear to be anything that will stop him from gritting his teeth and carrying on competing this weekend at Sachsenring.

“As for Loris, the position isn’t great, but he appears to have a good base feeling with the bike. He didn’t follow any other riders to set his times and he has been building step-by-step. Most importantly he is very clear on where we can improve on the bike to take some good steps for the weekend. Hopefully some of that information can help Chris out and give him a decent start point tomorrow.”

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