As Vermeulen endures a tough race
Loris Capirossi raced his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to a brilliant fifth place at Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
Starting from 10th on the grid, Capirossi got a great start and was up to seventh at the end of lap one. He picked up
another couple of places on lap three before settling into a strong and consistent race pace.
Suzuki's new Italian star came under pressure during the latter part of the race and was relegated back to seventh, but he used all his experience to fight back on the last lap and overtake James Toseland and Andrea Dovizioso on the final corner, a result that gives Suzuki its best finish from a MotoGP race at Jerez since the introduction of the four-stroke regulations.
“First of all I really want to say thank-you and well done to the whole team because they have all made a great effort for me and everybody stayed focused. We didn't start the season in the best place and now we have come back a little bit, but we must continue to work in that way”, he commented. “Fifth position is not the best for us because our target is different, but at the moment it is not too bad. I had to fight to get through and I started really aggressive because I knew the Bridgestone tyres would work well at the beginning and I tried to stay with top guys, but as the tyre started to wear I had to defend my position. In the last couple of laps I fought with Toseland and Dovizioso, but I beat both of them in the last corner. That was for sure nice for me!”
Chris Vermeulen had an equally eventful race as he tried to make up from starting 12th on the grid.
He battled his way through the field to seventh and was catching the riders in front of him, but as grip became a problem he was caught by Toseland, who put in a very strong pass on Vermeulen resulting in the Australian's leather suit being ripped on the upper arm!
Vermeulen tried to fight back put had to settle for 10th place and score his first points of the 2008 season.
“It was another tough race at Jerez, for the second year in a row!”, he said. “I qualified a fair way back and gave myself a lot of work to do. I didn't get a good start but I had a couple of really strong laps and got past a few guys. I felt quite strong, the bike was working well and my pace was good early on. By about lap eight I got through to seventh and I was catching fifth and sixth – they were right there in front of me – and things felt really good. Towards the end of the race my rear tyre grip really dropped off and I now think that perhaps we chose a too soft compound and it really suffered in the last few laps. I really struggled and the bike wouldn't turn or get enough grip to lean it over far enough. We will learn from that and go with a harder compound next time. I'd like to thank all my guys for their hard work this weekend. We are finally on the scoreboard with some points and I'm already looking forward to Estoril.”
Sunday's race was held in sunny conditions with the air temperature reaching a pleasant 19ºC and was watched by over 131,000 fans at trackside. The colourful and partisan crowd were treated to a victory by Spain's Dani Pedrosa on his factory Honda.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will now remain at Jerez for a further two days of testing before moving on to the third round of the MotoGP World Championship at Estoril in Portugal on Sunday 13th April.