News 9 Nov 2009

MotoGP: Vermeulen wraps up Suzuki career with a single point


Rizla Suzuki will begin testing and preparations for the 2010 season tomorrow following a below par finish to this year’s calendar for Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen.

Due to the cool weather conditions experienced here at Valencia all weekend and the disappointing qualifying from both riders yesterday, this afternoon’s race was always going to be a difficult and demanding affair. Capirossi used the softer of the two Bridgestone compounds available to him for the 30-lap race, but was still unable to generate enough heat to give him the performance he required. He battled stoically throughout the whole race and his 14th place finish was scant reward for the hard work he has put in all weekend.

Vermeulen had hoped to leave the team with a good to result from his last appearance in Rizla Suzuki colours, but the Australian struggled as much as Capirossi to find the performance from his Suzuki GSV-R. Vermeulen crossed the line in 15th place to secure the one remaining point scoring position in the race and give him the small consolation of being the only rider to score points at every event this season.

Today’s race was held in cool and very windy conditions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Spain. Over 94,000 spectators witnessed a near faultless performance from home star Dani Pedrosa, as he led from start to finish to win his second Grand Prix of the year.

Rizla Suzuki will now regroup and restructure in time for a three-day test that begins at the Valencian circuit tomorrow, when new rider Alvaro Bautista will join the team to begin his career as a MotoGP rider.

Loris Capirossi:

“Before we got to Valencia our expectation was that it would be a bit tough here as the conditions would be quite cold and everything we expected seems to have come true. It was difficult in the practice as we tried to find a good setting, but just never got the feeling we wanted. I chose the softer tyre today, even though I didn’t have a good feeling in that – so you can imagine how difficult the hard one would have been to use! At the start of the race when the tyre was new everything felt not too bad and I tried to follow some guys , but as the grip levels dropped down I didn’t have complete control over the bike and struggled even more. I tried to defend my position but it felt like everyone could get past me, so all I did was try to make sure I finished the race. This result is not good for me, the team and Suzuki, because we try to work hard and we really want to have a result – so this feeling is not good. Thankfully, the good thing we have as a team is that we are strong inside and we know what our target is. We want to make sure we break everybody’s balls so that we can get to the front and we have to do it next year, because like this is just not good enough!

“I also want to say I feel sorry for Chris that he had to finish with this result. I have worked with him for two seasons and he is a great team-mate and we have a good friendship. We work well together and we check data all the time to try to improve the bike, so for me this is not a nice day. After two seasons it will be difficult to look over and see a different guy in my box, but this is the way life goes and I want to say good luck and welcome to Alvaro and hope we can work together as well as Chris and I have done.”

Chris Vermeulen:

“It has been a difficult weekend and the only positive I can take from it is that we definitely improved in the race from yesterday’s qualifying and managed to pass a few guys out there today. I was catching Loris towards the end of the race and I could see that he was struggling with a similar sort of situation as I was. Suzuki has got a lot of work to do to get this sorted, but I really hope they are able to do that, especially for all my crew who work so hard to get things right. I want thank everyone at Suzuki and in the team for what they have done in the last four years, we’ve had some good times – sadly today was not one of them unfortunately. I hope the guys get a lot of work done in the winter and come out much stronger. I also want to wish good luck to Loris and Alvaro for 2010; I have enjoyed working with Loris and will miss the friendship and rivalry that we had together.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“I have nothing to say about today’s race! The 2010 season starts tomorrow and our huge differential in performance in low-grip conditions is clear for all to see. To get the consistency in the bike is the highest priority and along with Alvaro taking his first steps as a MotoGP rider tomorrow, our target is very clear.

“I’d like to thank Loris for riding at 100% all season and for being such a fantastic team player, the team will be doing everything in its power to push the Suzuki factory to give him the bike in 2010 that his efforts deserve. As for Chris, he has also been a huge asset to Suzuki for four years and we all wish him well as he takes a new direction in his career. He has always been the consummate professional – both on and off the track – and we wish him and his family well. He’ll always be welcome whenever he comes to visit.”