Loris Capirossi put a difficult weekend and an equally tough start to today’s Indianapolis Grand Prix behind him to battle his way to seventh place at the chequered flag.
Capirossi got a poor start compared to his usual high standards and was then further hampered on the second corner when a couple of riders – including team-mate Chris Vermeulen – collided and forced him onto the grass. Capirossi kept control of his bike but had to fight his way through the field from the back of the pack. He made gradual progress and got into seventh place with three laps remaining and, although he closed the gap dramatically on the rider in front, he was unable to make up any further places as he ran out of laps.
Vermeulen fared even worse from the second corner incident. He was hit by Mika Kallio and pushed very wide onto the grass. He too was fortunate to stay on the bike, but when he re-joined he was a long way from the main field. Vermeulen found his best rhythm of the weekend for the rest of the race as he too progressed through the pack. He made his way up to ninth but a slight mistake cost him a couple of positions on the last lap and he brought his Rizla Suzuki home in 11th place.
Today’s race was watched over 75,000 spectators at the awesome Indianapolis Motor Speedway and they were treated to an eventful spectacle. Dani Pedrosa crashed whilst leading and then championship leader Valentino Rossi also crashed when in second place, to leave Jorge Lorenzo to take a comfortable victory on his factory Yamaha.
Rizla Suzuki now heads straight back to Europe for the 13th round of the World Championship at Misano in Italy next Sunday.
“The final position is not too bad, but I am disappointed with my start because it was not very good and on turn two I was involved in a big casino with some other bikes – luckily I didn’t come off as bad as Chris! I kept up a good pace and I overtook a lot of guys, I had a good rhythm throughout the race and if I’d have had that rhythm without the incident early on and the bad start I think I could have challenged for a top-five place. I want to thank all my guys for another good job this weekend and they are all working hard to discover the best performance for the new chassis, I already think it is a lot better than the old one, but we still don’t know its full potential. We got good data from the race and it was a better result than the grid position, but we expect more and we will be pushing hard in Misano!”
“I got a good start off the line and made up a few places on the outside at turn one, but on turn two I got hit by Kallio and pushed out on the grass and I lost a lot of time. I was about last and had a lot of work to do from there. We made some changes to the bike for the race and I did my quickest run this afternoon from the whole weekend. I moved up some places and towards the end I was fighting for ninth, but had a bit of bad luck on the last lap and a couple of guys got past me. It was certainly the best we have been all weekend and we have some positive things to take to Misano.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The race was the best performance we have seen all weekend, both out of the riders and the bikes. We’re able to draw some positives in terms of confirming the correct direction with the new chassis and finding some setting data for it for the next GPs. Both of the guys pushed hard and gave everything today, but it is difficult for the team to achieve its full potential when both the riders are on the grass and at the back of the field on the second corner! The podium was beyond us today, but we had the potential to fight for a top-five and that will be our target as we go straight to Misano next weekend.”