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Vermeulen fights back
As Capirossi suffers cruel blow
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen raced to a close seventh place finish at the Catalan Grand Prix near Barcelona today, as team-mate Loris Capirossi's race came to an abrupt end when another rider crashed into him.

got a solid start from the third row of the grid, but was hit on the first lap by Alex de Angelis and relegated down to 14th place. He fought his way back through the field and was closing in on sixth place on the last lap, missing out on a top-six finish by 0.066 seconds at the chequered flag.

Capirossi made a good start from 12th and was up into eighth place by lap two, before disaster struck for the experienced Italian on the 11th lap. Capirossi was hit from behind by - also by de Angelis - causing him to crash at high speed and injure his hand in the process. He was immediately taken the trackside clinic where he was found to have a dislocated fracture of the fifth right metacarpus and a deep wound with loss of skin to his fifth right finger. He will not be able to ride in tomorrow's test, but hopes to be back to fitness as soon as possible.

A record-breaking crowd at the Circuit de Catalunya of over 113,000 enjoyed warm sunshine and a comprehensive start to finish victory by local hero Dani Pedrosa on his factory Honda. Valentino Rossi on his Bridgestone-shod Yamaha was second and stays on top of the World Championship classification.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will now stay in Catalunya for a two-day test, when Vermeulen will be joined by Team Test Rider Nobuatsu Aoki. The team will next be in competitive action at its ‘home' Grand Prix at Donington Park in England on Sunday 22nd June.

Chris Vermeulen:
“I made a reasonable start and had good first and second corners, but then I was hit by de Angelis and I lost few positions. I got myself back together but with everybody being so quick and close on lap-times it made it very difficult to pass. I got through the field and up to seventh, but I feel if I had had a better start I could have been in the top-five. I really want to pass on a lot of thanks to the team because they gave me a great bike for here and it was very consistent all weekend. I have to work on my qualifying and there is still a little area of the bike where we are struggling with grip and the way it uses the tyre, so hopefully in the next two days of testing we can work on that. I hope Loris is going to be alright soon, because he is a big part to our development and I wish him all the best.”
Loris Capirossi:
“It has been a really bad end to the weekend, because I felt that everything was working well on the bike and I felt good. I think I could have fought with Chris and James Toseland, but de Angelis tried a bit too hard and put me out of the race. But this is racing and sometimes things like this happen. Now I have to be careful because I have an injury and it will not be so easy for me to recover for the two races in one week. We will see, but I will certainly try to recover as quickly as I can!”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“MotoGP is not an easy sport but we weren't done any favours today! When de Angelis rammed Loris off the track in turn three the result was a fracture of his right hand. The dislocated fracture has been put back into position very skilfully by Dr. Costa, and the bone has been set in a cast. The normal recovery time for that injury is some weeks, but Loris seems keen to try and be fit for Donington in 12 days time. Whether that is realistic or not, the next few days will tell! Loris gave everything – as always – and deserved a lot better for all his efforts. Chris rode a very strong race after a difficult first lap that saw him a long way down the field. His recovery into the top-10 was excellent and with a better start he had the pace today to fight for fifth. Unfortunately the guys at the front had more pace than us and as we have said in recent weeks it is important to try and improve the bike's performance over race distance. Clearly Loris won't be able to test here over the next two days, so his duties will now be undertaken by Nobuatsu, and Chris's crew and the factory will be evaluating all the possibilities of getting the GSV-R as competitive as we can possibly make it for Donington and Assen in a couple of weeks time.”
Rizla Suzuki

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