Rizla Suzuki racer Loris Capirossi missed a podium position at today’s Czech Republic Grand Prix by less than a second as he battled to the line to try and repeat his third place from last year.
Capirossi had a fantastic first lap that saw him storm into sixth place from ninth on the grid. He stuck with Toni Elias and Andrea Dovizioso for the whole race and although he made a couple of attempts to get past them he never found the opportunity to make an overtaking manoeuvre stick. When Jorge Lorenzo crashed whilst leading, the trio of riders knew a podium was up for grabs and they all fought to take that third place On the last lap Capirossi used his wealth of experience to try and get through, but narrowly missed out on the line, bringing his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R home in fifth to equal his best result of the season.
Team-mate Chris Vermeulen didn’t have such an eventful race. After getting blocked on the first lap and losing a lot of places, he found himself relegated to 15th after starting from 11th. He fought his way past a couple of riders and also benefitted from a crash between two other riders, to bring his bike home in 11th place and score some much needed championship points.
Today’s race was held in hot and sunny conditions with temperatures reaching 29ºC. A huge crowd of over 138,000 people baked in the sun as World Champion Valentino Rossi coolly took his fifth win of the season to strengthen his lead in the title race.
Rizla Suzuki will now stay in Brno for a day of testing tomorrow, before it heads over the Atlantic to the Indianapolis Grand Prix on Sunday 30th August.
“Overall it has been a good day for us, because we have been able to fight the whole weekend and were nearly rewarded with a podium. We had a big problem with chatter and we managed to resolve that for the race. We made the right choice of tyre today, but a couple of times I nearly lost the front which meant I didn’t quite have the right feeling and that caused me to lose a bit of time. I managed to clean off the tyre by riding a bit less aggressive and then I was able to push again right till the end of the race. I lost out a bit to the other guys in front of me on acceleration and it was then difficult to overtake on the brakes because I was never quite close enough – even though I was faster through the corners. I really want to say a huge thank-you to the whole team because their effort this weekend was fantastic. I also want to thank Suzuki for giving us the chance to comeback with a better package; this is a really good thing and will help us for the rest of the season.”
“I got quite a good start, but on turn one I got blocked and was then passed by a few people – that’s what you get I suppose when you start from the fourth row of the grid! I then got pushed very wide on the first lap and lost a few more places. Everybody was going very quickly and it took me quite a few laps to get past the guys in front that I had more speed than and by then the main pack was well away in front. I am a bit disappointed with my own performance, I couldn’t get down to the lap-times I expected to do. I kept pushing till the end and gave it 100% and caught up to De Puniet and Toseland near the end, but there was not enough laps left to get past. We got some points from today, but it hasn’t been a great weekend again for us. We have made a significant step with the bike and I am looking forward to the test tomorrow and then getting to some good tracks for me and Suzuki.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“We’d hoped that the changes that Suzuki introduced here in Brno would help our performance – and despite a difficult weekend with a number of problems – it was certainly the case for Loris. We have managed to get back to a more competitive situation and that is a positive to take away from here. The gap in pace to the factory Yamahas was far too big, but aside from that Loris’s speed was quite competitive and the result was helped by an awesome first lap by him to force his way into the top-six. The podium was in sight and Loris was apologetic to the team and frustrated that he couldn’t get there, but we now need to keep concentrating on the performance of the GSV-R on this 22-lap run, because it gives us some great data for the rest of the season. Chris had a difficult race, as he has been unable to find a comfortable rhythm all weekend. The team is now really glad that we have a test tomorrow where Chris and Loris will run through a significant test programme, but more importantly we need to boost Chris’s confidence and give him a positive outlook for the next few races.”