“I know that we can be closer to the front”
Le Mans in France is the next stop for Rizla Suzuki MotoGP on the 2009 MotoGP calendar with both riders in a confident mood to kick-start their seasons at the famous French circuit.
Chris Vermeulen returns to the scene
of his first victory in Grand Prix racing determined to put the results of this season's three races firmly behind him as he looks to get his Suzuki GSV-R up amongst the front runners at the 4,185m French circuit.
Vermeulen won at Le Mans in 2007 and finished fifth in 2008. He will be looking to better last year's result and try to repeat his victory from two years ago when he takes to the track on Friday for the first practice session.
"I am really looking forward to going back to Le Mans as it holds some great memories for me and has a special place in my heart. I managed a fifth there last year and I will certainly be looking to better that this time out”, he said. “We have had a tough start to the season and the results have certainly not gone our way for one reason or another, but we need to learn from what has happened and make sure we come out stronger through the rest of the season - starting with Le Mans this weekend!"
Loris Capirossi tasted podium success at Le Mans in 2006 and is equally determined to put his machine at the front of the field. Capirossi scored a hard-earned seventh at Le Mans last year after running off the track and fighting his way back through the field.
"I have said before that I have been disappointed with the results so far this season and I want to be able to show just what the GSV-R and the whole team are capable of”, he explained. “We now have a bit longer to work on the bike with the increased practice sessions and hopefully we can iron-out the few things that we need to make us more competitive.
I know that we can be closer to the front and challenging the top guys, we just seem to need that bit of luck and things to go our way for a change!"
Le Mans is one of the most famous race-tracks in the world and the MotoGP field will race on the Bugatti Circuit, a layout which only shares a short section of the 24-hour track. The circuit itself is a twisty affair with an incredibly fast first corner - taken flat-out in top gear before braking hard for a chicane. Le Mans is approximately 200km/s south-west of Paris and a boisterous crowd is always on-hand to make sure the event is a memorable one.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will take to the track on the afternoon of Friday 15th May for the first - and only - session of the day. An alteration to the schedule will see the session revert back to an hour, from the previous 45-minute sessions used so far this year. This has been agreed by the Grand Prix Commission to allow more time to get the bikes set-up in readiness for the race and to increase competitiveness for all concerned. The second free practice session will be on Saturday morning followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 28-lap race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).