With Hopkins on the second row of the grid
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins will start tomorrow's Czech Republic Grand Prix from the front of the second row, after he saw his pole position hopes dashed by a crash right at the end of today's qualifying in Brno.
uncompromising Anglo-American was going all out for the number one position during his last lap on his Bridgestone qualifying tyres, but he pushed just a bit too hard and went down on a tight right-hander. Fortunately he was unhurt and will be fully fit for tomorrow's race. Hopkins (P4, 1'57.569, 22 laps) had topped the timesheets twice during the session – when using race compound tyres – and looks to have a good set-up in readiness for Sunday's 22-lap spectacle.
Chris Vermeulen (P8, 1'57.699, 22 laps) will start just behind Hopkins, as he lines up in the middle of the third row. Vermeulen improved consistently throughout the day and put together some good runs on race tyres, he too topped the timesheet during the afternoon qualifying session as he broke into the sub one minute 59 seconds group. Suzuki's rising Australian star is in confident mood for tomorrow and will be looking to follow on from his Laguna Seca podium with another good result
. Today's qualifying was help in warm and sunny conditions and an enthusiastic Czech crowd saw Casey Stoner take pole position on his Bridgestone-shod Ducati.
Tomorrow's race is round 12 of the MotoGP World Championship and the action gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
“The day didn't really end the way we wanted it to, but to be frank, Brno is just one of those tracks where you've got to go for it, and I pushed just a bit too hard. I guess I've made a bit of extra work for the mechanics, so they probably won't be too pleased – sorry guys! We got through a lot of stuff over the weekend and today we made some experiments, but we decided to go back to the set-up we had as that was working well. I feel really happy with the way things are going and the race times are looking good and we can do them consistently. We are still looking for a tenth here and there, but I think we are more than ready for the race tomorrow. We're in a good position for the start, we're not on the front row but we are in pole position one row back! We'll try to get away from the line well and keep with Casey because I'm sure he'll have a blistering pace, so we'll just try to stick with him and get by him at the end!”
“We've progressed every session this weekend and without a doubt the qualifying session was my best by far. We made a lot of steps forward with race set-up and tyres, and although my qualifying position is not as good as I wanted, it still gives me a chance to get away with the front group. We've got our race tyres sorted for tomorrow and are happy with those, so it should be a good race and I'm really looking forward to it. I'd really like to say a big thank-you to all the team this weekend for all the hard work they've put in, especially my mechanics who have given me good bike right from the start and I'll be trying as hard as I can tomorrow to repay them with a good result!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It's been another good day's work by the whole team. Both bikes qualified towards the front of the field and more importantly Chris's race pace has improved significantly and John has shown himself to be one of the quickest and most consistent riders out there today. John looks capable of challenging right at the front tomorrow and I'm sure Chris will be up there with him, because he has proved many times before that he is a better racer than qualifier.”
“John was going for pole right at the end when he fell down, and if you are going to crash that is as good a time as any! He's 100% ok and he, like the rest of the team, is ready for tomorrow.”