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Second row start for Hopkins
Donington : Rizla Suzuki – Day Two
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP's Anglo-American racer John Hopkins will start tomorrow's British Grand Prix at Donington Park from the second row of the grid, after he qualified his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R in sixth place today.

Hopkins (1'29.073,
30 laps) looked strong all throughout this afternoon's session and a front row start seemed likely, but he made a mistake on his final qualifying lap and although he gave a mighty effort during the last two sections of the circuit he couldn't quite make up the valuable tenths he needed to secure a top-three position.

Chris Vermeulen suffered a high-speed crash during this morning's practice session. The 25-year-old Australian high-sided through the fast Craner Curves, fortunately he only suffered minor bruising and was able to get back to the pits and continue with the session on his second bike.

Vermeulen (P12, 1'29,793, 29 laps) produced some competitive lap times on race tyres during this afternoon's qualifying session and is confident of a good performance on Sunday in any conditions. He will start from the fourth row of the grid for tomorrow's 30-lap race.

Today's sessions were held in dry, but overcast, conditions with air temperatures only reaching 18°C and track temperatures at 29°C. Pole position was taken by American Colin Edwards on his factory Yamaha.

Tomorrow's race is round eight of the MotoGP World Championship and the main event will take place at 13.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

John Hopkins:
“It was a good day today and exactly what we wanted. We needed a dry day so we could get some work done with the set-up of the bike. The track surface needed to get some rubber on it to improve grip, because at the start of the day it was still very slippery. It got better as the sessions progressed, but it is still not quite perfect! As far as race set-up goes we are almost there, we will make a couple of changes in the warm-up, but for the most part the Bridgestone tyres and the Suzuki GSV-R are working well again. As far as qualifying goes I made a big mistake coming onto my last lap and that cost me a few tenths. I lost the rear really bad and I rode like a sissy just after it happened! We could have had the front row, but now the plan is to get a good start and make sure we are in contention straight away!”

Chris Vermeulen:
“We now have the bike set-up for both wet and dry conditions and made a lot of improvements this afternoon, because I lost a bit of time this morning due to a crash down Craner Curves. I'm still a bit stiff and sore from that. The guys did a great job rebuilding my bike in the short time between sessions – even some of John's crew helped so I am thankful to them for that.
My last qualifying lap was looking good, but I made a mistake in the Melbourne Loop and ran wide. It's not perfect starting from the fourth row, but if I can get a good start and push hard throughout the race I know I can be competitive!”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“We got a dry day, which was great for the team, the fans, the riders and the British GP in general but unfortunately we didn't quite get the qualifying result we were looking for – John certainly looked like he had the speed for the front row. It's so competitive out there that the smallest mistake or some bad luck costs vital tenths and makes a big difference to the starting position. Having said that everyone is pushing really hard, and our guys seem to have good consistency. I think we will be in good shape over the 30 laps tomorrow whether it is wet or dry.”
Rizla Suzuki


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