“It was ridiculous”
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP face an uphill battle in tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix after a disappointing qualifying session saw John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen take 14th and 16th places on the grid respectively.
Both riders improved on their race-tyre
times throughout the day but they were unable to make further advancements during the last third of the afternoon session when the all-important grid positions were up for grabs.
Today's pole position went to Dani Pedrosa on his factory Honda.
This morning's practice session was again affected by rain and track temperatures throughout the day varied between 17 and 32°C making the job of setting up bike very difficult for both crews. Hopkins and Vermeulen are still both upbeat about their chances of improving dramatically tomorrow and getting the best result possible given the difficult circumstances.
Sunday's race is round 16 of the MotoGP season and the 27-lap main event gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (05.00hrs GMT).
“That was an awful session and probably the worst for the team all season, it was ridiculous! We did make some improvements this afternoon with the dry setting but we are still nowhere near close to what we want. I am very unhappy with the qualifying position, but I do have high hopes for the race as I know we can get a better set-up than we've had today! My crew has worked really hard this weekend and I also need to improve my lines in a few places to make things come together. Phillip Island is just one of those tracks where if you mess up on one corner you mess up the whole track. We have struggled a bit with the wind, but right now we still need to find that bit better set-up for a dry race.
We're confident in the Bridgestone tyres we have chosen for tomorrow and I need to make sure I get a good start and get up to that pack at the front!”
“We had the weather against us again today and the first session was a bit wet so we couldn't really concentrate on what we wanted to get done. We did manage to get the bike set-up for both types of conditions and my guys all did a great job. We have improved the bike a long way today and have also consistently improved lap-times. We still have a long way to go and we especially need to concentrate on improving the corner speed and rear tyre durability. I'm sure we'll be a bit better for tomorrow and hope we'll get a dry warm-up to test those things out. I am far from happy with where I qualified and it gives me a lot of work to do right from the start, but I'm up for it and I'll be giving it everything I've got at my home GP!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“A dismal qualifying result today! We had high hopes coming to this event that we would be able to take a good step in our performance here compared to our winter test, but that has just not been the case. Both the guys have made decent advancements today but the competition has moved away at the same rate so we are really back where we started from.
Long term there are a number of factors we need to look at to try to understand our relative lack of performance at this circuit, but short-term the most important thing we can do right now is to maximise what we have in the garage right now, make sure the riders are ready to give 100% and try to salvage a decent result from what has been a difficult weekend.”