At Dutch TT
Chris Vermeulen brought his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R home in fifth place at Saturday's Dutch TT in Assen to record his best result of the season so far.
Vermeulen got a great start from the fourth row of the grid and was in touch with the top-three at the end
of lap one.
He was forced back to sixth place on lap six, but with a rider falling just in front of Vermeulen on the 11th lap it left the Australian racer in a lonely and comfortable fifth. He kept up a consistent rhythm and Vermeulen was pleased with his result, he believes it will be a stepping stone to better performances as he now heads to a run of circuits that he really enjoys.
"I'm obviously happy because this is my best result of the year and we have shown that we have made a step with the bike after the Barcelona test - especially on the chassis side of things. At this track - and the next couple that we are going to - it is not so important on the motor front, so the slight speed disadvantage that we have is not so bad and we can still be competitive”, he said. “I got a good start to the race and got in with the front guys early on. I tried as hard as I could to stay with them, but didn't quite have the lap-times to hang in there. I kept pushing all race and when Colin came past I tried to hang on to him, but he seemed to have a bit more rear grip than me. Most of the race after that was pretty boring as I was on my own. I'm happy with fifth and it gives us some valuable points in the championship and a good result to take forward into Laguna Seca."
Loris Capirossi was heavily involved in what was the battle of the race. Suzuki's experienced Italian got a poor start by his usual high standards and was relegated down to 11th - from sixth on the grid - at the end of the first lap. From there Capirossi was in a huge fight that featured up to seven riders at any one time. He battled through the field and made his way up to ninth, before being pushed wide, forcing him to run off the track.
After re-joining in 12th he set about getting back in touch with the group and as the high-speed formation reached the last chicane Capirossi had used all his experience to muscle into sixth, but a move from Toni Elias pushed Capirossi into the gravel and although he stayed onboard his machine he had lost all momentum and brought his GSV-R home in 10th.
Following a post-race investigation into the incident with Capirossi and Elias, the latter was awarded with a 20-second penalty, which relegated him down the classification and moved Capirossi up into ninth place.
"It was not a good result today and it began with a bad start by me, it made it very difficult all race because it is not very easy to overtake here. When I was pushed wide I was really disappointed because it meant I had to start all over again and chase the other guys to get past. I got past three riders on the last lap and I was just behind Kallio on the last few corners and then he crashed, so I was sixth”, he said. “I thought that would be not too bad, but on the last corner Elias tried to overtake me and put me out and that was it, it was all over. I am upset because I really think if I had got a good start today I would have had a good race and we'd have been competitive, but it's finished now and we have to move on."
Saturday's race was held in front of packed grandstands and the big crowd of 96,152 were treated to a bit of history as Valentino Rossi rode his Yamaha to victory - the 100th Grand Prix win in the Italian's illustrious career.
Rizla Suzuki now embarks on a hectic trans-Atlantic dash as it heads to Laguna Seca in America for the eighth round of the MotoGP World Championship next Sunday.