Still chasing the podium
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP travels to Shanghai in China hoping that the strong race performance at the last round in Turkey can develop into podium results.
John Hopkins scored an exciting sixth place in Istanbul last week and will certainly be
looking to improve on that - and last year's fourth at Shanghai – when he takes to the track for round four of the MotoGP World Championship on Sunday 6th May.
Hopkins qualified on the front row of the grid at last season's race and will certainly be planning to emulate that this coming weekend.
Team-mate Chris Vermeulen will be buoyed by the performance of his 800cc Suzuki GSV-R in Turkey. He managed a creditable 11th place after being knocked off on the first lap, and also recorded the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap, as the new generation of Bridgestone tyres yet again proved their consistency and performance over a race distance. Vermeulen continued in good form at the one-day test at Istanbul on the Monday after the race by setting the quickest time of the day.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP comes to Shanghai with over twice the amount of points that it had at the same stage of the season last year, and both riders will be looking for good results from their Bridgestone tyres over the 5.281km long circuit to improve on those totals.
The Shanghai track features the longest straight on the MotoGP calendar – at over a kilometre long – where last year's 990cc machines achieved speeds in excess of 340km/h before having to brake hard for a first gear hairpin. This is combined with a mixture of slow speed turns, sweeping curves, different gradients and the longest, most technical hairpin in the world of MotoGP.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP takes to the track on Friday 4th May for two hour-long free practice sessions.
Saturday will see another hour's worth of free practice in the morning before the excitement of the afternoon's qualifying session gets underway. Sunday's 22-lap race will begin at 15.00hrs local time (07.00hrs GMT).
“I like the Shanghai circuit. It is pretty testing and you have to be fast through some of the corners and hard on the brakes, so that suits me. I led here in '05 and was on the front row and pushing for a podium last year so I am pretty determined to go that one step better this year. The bike is working really good and the tyres that Bridgestone brought to Turkey were a huge step forward, let's hope we get more of the same in China and can get on the rostrum!”
“I didn't finish at Shanghai last year so I will certainly want to do better than that! The bike and tyres worked really well in Turkey and I am sure that will be the case in China as well. I am really looking forward to this race, the track is awesome and one that I enjoy riding at. Let's just hope we can get round without anyone knocking me off!”