Rizla Suzuki racers Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen both took a gamble to pit for wet weather tyres at a damp Donington Park in England today, but unfortunately the expected rain never fully materialised.
Capirossi started from 14th on the grid and made his way through the field as gentle, but persistent, drizzle fell over the 4.023m British Circuit. He made his way up to sixth place by lap 10 and as the rain started to fall more strongly he took the risk to pit and change to his Suzuki GSV-R prepared with wet weather tyres. Unluckily for Capirossi the rain stopped almost immediately and he was unable to make use of the different set-up, eventually bringing his bike home in 11th place.
Vermeulen had a tough weekend at Donington and was also caught out by the changeable English weather. He too pitted to change his bike in readiness for the expected downpour, but when it didn’t happen he was left to think of what might have been as he rode to a 13th place finish.
Almost 90,000 fans braved the awful conditions today to witness the last Donington GP of the present era. They were certainly treated to plenty of excitement throughout the 30-lap race, before Andrea Dovizioso on a factory Honda took his first MotoGP victory.
Rizla Suzuki will next see track action during the Rizla Racing Day at Assen in the Netherlands on Sunday 9th August, when Capirossi and Vermeulen will be doing some demonstration laps on their Suzuki GSV-Rs. That will be followed by the next round of the MotoGP World Championship the following weekend, when the MotoGP circus moves to Brno in the Czech Republic for round 11 on Sunday 16th August.
“Today was a big gamble on many things with the way the weather was behaving. We started with slicks but just couldn’t get enough heat in the tyres, especially in the left-hand-side. I was in group battling for sixth place and when it started to rain heavily I thought it was a good time to come in and change to the wet bike and try to take advantage. Then it stopped raining and within two laps I had destroyed the tyre. It is sometimes so difficult to guess what the weather will do at Donington and really it was unfortunate because in those kinds of conditions we need some luck, but we just didn’t get any today.”
“It was very tough out there today and the conditions seemed to change on every corner, making it very hard to keep heat and grip in the tyres. Everything was difficult and then I had a big slide and went off the track, causing me to lose a lot of time. Towards the end of the race it started to rain harder and it was difficult to ride out there. I came in and changed my bike thinking it would rain heavier, but it stopped and it proved to be the wrong decision. It was a difficult Grand Prix for all concerned so congratulations to everyone that stayed up because it was hard work out there.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It has been a difficult British Grand Prix for us and there is no reason to pretend otherwise. Today’s crazy conditions gave us an opportunity to level the playing field. In the early laps it looked like Loris and his bike were working well and he managed to force his way up to sixth. His gamble to follow Melandri in and pit for tyres could have easily have paid off if it had rained hard, but the rain eased off almost immediately and he wasn’t able to capitalise on the wet tyres.
“Chris had an extremely challenging GP and struggled to generate any feeling or confidence the whole weekend. We now have some significant work to do to improve the bike’s sensitivity to weather and track conditions and allow the riders to get the best out of themselves.
“It has not been the best ‘home’ Grand Prix in terms of performance and results, but at the same time I would like to thank all our partners, potential partners and friends of the team who have braved the weather and come to Donington Park this weekend, we will be working flat-out between now and Brno to try and give them the results they deserve.”