Donington : Rizla Suzuki Day One
Chris Vermeulen recorded the fifth fastest time of the day onboard his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R at a near flooded Donington Park circuit on the first day of practice for the British Grand Prix.
Vermeulen (1'44.371, 43 laps) again showed
his wet weather class, as he consistently posted competitive times around the 4km-long English track. It was not all easy going for the Australian as he did have a small crash on only his second lap of the day, as he tried to become accustomed to the slippery surface.
John Hopkins (P8, 1'44.716, 48 laps) had a productive day as he used both sessions to test the wet weather capabilities of his bike to the limit. He tried a new compound Bridgestone rain tyre today and was very pleased with the durability results, so much so that he like team-mate Vermeulen only used one set of tyres to cover both practice sessions!
Today's torrential downpour is similar to what is forecast for the rest of the weekend at Donington and both riders will be looking to get a good position in tomorrow's qualifying session, in readiness for the race, to avoid getting lost in the poor visibility further down the field when the 30-lap event gets underway at 13.00 local time (12.00GMT) on Sunday.
Today's fastest time was set by championship leader Casey Stoner on his Bridgestone-shod Ducati.
It's great to be back here at Donington but not in these conditions! I spent a few years in Britain doing the British Championship and I used to live here, so this is really like a second home GP for me. Today's conditions weren't the greatest as it's been raining all day and the water was at different levels all over the surface - so it was difficult to get a consistent lap out there. My team have worked really hard on the chassis and we have made some improvements there, but we now have to see what the weather is going to do for the rest of the weekend.
Well the whole day has gone well considering the rain. We just wanted to put some laps together and try a new tyre from Bridgestone. We managed to do both of those and more.
I didn't want to push that hard today as you can so easily make a mistake in the rain and Sunday's race is more important than a fast time in a wet practice session and we know we can be in a better position whether it is wet or dry! We have a few things to try tomorrow, but I am eager to get out there on a dry track and see what the GSV-R800 can do around here!
Paul Denning Team Manager:
Last year at Donington the track temperature reached 50°C and above this year the more typical British summer has arrived! Having said that we managed to get some valuable wet weather testing done and come Sunday, if it is raining, we will certainly be prepared. Today must have been one of the least expensive days Bridgestone has ever experienced with Rizla Suzuki MotoGP, as both Chris and John used the same set of tyres for both sessions! This shows that front and rear tyres will have plenty of durability if the weather stays the same. We are hoping that the weather will break tomorrow and we will finally get some dry track time, because if we do I am sure that the new generation 800cc GSV-R will lap this circuit a fair bit quicker than the old 990!