Rizla Suzuki racers Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen will start tomorrow’s Indianapolis Grand Prix from the fourth and fifth rows of the grid respectively, after a disappointing qualifying session left them both with a lot of work to do in tomorrow’s race.
Capirossi (P11, 1’41.742, 26 laps) was satisfied with the new chassis and several other new parts that he used today from the recent test in Brno. He was over half-of-second quicker today than his qualifying performance last year – in similar conditions – and is determined to make up several places in Sunday’s 28-lap race to challenge for a much higher position.
Vermeulen (P14, 1’42.038, 29 laps) consistently improved his bike and times through both this morning’s free practice session and this afternoon’s qualifying, but just couldn’t find the extra speed needed to push him further up the grid. He knows he has a tough job ahead of him tomorrow, but will be giving it 100% to improve during the race.
Today’s qualifying was held in dry conditions – very different to yesterday’s torrential rain – with the track heating up to 50ºC, as the air temperatures rose to a comfortable 24ºC. Dani Pedrosa on his factory Honda took pole position for tomorrow’s race, which gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (19.00hrs GMT).
“Overall we have improved throughout the day, but it is not enough of an improvement to stay with the front guys, so will try to use tomorrow’s warm-up to set the bike up a bit more. We were able to use a couple of new parts alongside the new chassis and the feeling was good. We are still struggling a bit on the slow corners so we also need to work on that. It has been quite a difficult day today and I hope that tomorrow we will have good weather so we can try to improve in time for the race. I am still quite optimistic though because it is so close and if I improve a small bit I can be up in the top-five.”
“In this morning’s session we worked a lot on the bike’s set-up and improved consistently, then in the afternoon I tried the harder compound tyre but I just didn’t seem to be able to make it work for me, so I used the softer one and it had good durability so I think that will be the tyre we will use tomorrow. We changed engine and suspension settings and improved the bike throughout qualifying, but I am quite frustrated because a few tenths-of-a-second would have moved me up and I was very consistent in reeling the laps off, but just not consistently fast enough. We will try some small changes for tomorrow and hopefully make things better.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It’s good that the weather changed for the better today, but unfortunately that was the only good news for Rizla Suzuki. There are always reasons and justifications for disappointing results and it is true that this is the first event that the new chassis layout has been used other than at the Brno test, so naturally we can expect it to take some time to find the best balance in the bike. However, the fact of the matter is that the end result – on a very difficult track to overtake on – is going to make tomorrow’s GP even harder. It is all very well to say that another two or three tenths would have got us into reasonable grid positions, but we didn’t get the job done and the result is not what any of us are looking for. We need to step it up tomorrow; it’s as simple as that!”