News 16 Oct 2009

MotoGP: Vermeulen upbeat despite tough opening day at home


Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi put a tough start to the first practice for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix firmly behind him as he made big steps in the final quarter of the session to record the 10th quickest time.

Capirossi (1’32.606, 25 laps) used both of his Suzuki GSV-Rs throughout the session to find a good base setting at the 4,448m Phillip Island circuit. His best time came on his last lap of the day as the modifications his crew made to the bike started to come to fruition and leave the number 65 racer with a clear indication on the route to take for the rest of the weekend.

Chris Vermeulen (P15, 1’33.504, 24 laps) had an unfortunate first day at his home Grand Prix, as he too struggled to get the best set-up for his GSV-R at the fastest track on the calendar. A setback with one of his bikes meant he only had a single machine for most of the session and was unable to test the different setting geometries that he wanted to.

Vermeulen is still upbeat that he will improve dramatically over the weekend as he looks to bow out of his final home Grand Prix in style.

Today’s single practice session was held in conditions that kept the local penguin community comfortable as air temperatures only got up to a maximum of 17ÂșC. World Championship leader Valentino Rossi on his factory Yamaha recorded the fastest time of the day.

Rizla Suzuki has one more free practice session tomorrow morning followed by an hour of qualifying. Sunday’s 27-lap race at the stunning Phillip Island circuit gets underway at 16.00hrs local time (05.00hrs GMT)

Loris Capirossi:
“Overall it has been a tough day, especially the first 45 minutes of the session, because we really struggled to get the set-up of the bike working. We had to change a lot on both bikes and in the end we did some big modifications and made some good steps with the set-up. We are not very close to the top guys, but we now understand where we can improve over the weekend. We were quite lucky with the weather today as well because it has been very bad here for the last couple of days. The temperature was not too bad today and the tyres still had to work quite hard, if it had been five degrees less it would have been almost impossible to ride. We hope we get some good weather tomorrow so we can continue with the improvements we were making and be able to challenge over the weekend.”

Chris Vermeulen:
“At the beginning of the session the bike didn’t feel too bad and we made some small changes to the suspension, but when I went back out there was a few drops of rain so I did a slower lap. Unfortunately I had a problem with that bike and I wasn’t able to use it again. I then got on to my other bike – which took a bit of time because we had to swap over some components from the first bike – and it then became a matter of getting that bike and set-up working for me. We certainly have a direction for tomorrow and if we’d had both bikes for the whole session I’m sure we would have tried those things, but I’m sure we’ll be ok for tomorrow and go a whole lot quicker.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It wasn’t easy at all today and it felt like the hour really rushed by and we never really found the opportunity to fine-tune the bikes in the way we would have liked. Since the new chassis was introduced in Brno we have had to go to every track and pretty much ignore the base settings we have from 2008 or the winter tests. At the start of the session the guesstimates weren’t quite right and we spent most of the hour trying to find the best solutions. We’ve still got some big steps to make, but the direction found towards the end of the session is going to help us start on a much better footing tomorrow and hopefully close the gap to the fast guys.”