Sachsenring : Suzuki - Day One
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins was pleased with his first day's work at the betandwin.com Motorrad GP Deutschland as he set about erasing last year's memories by posting some fast times today.
Hopkins (P6, 1'23.693, 48 laps) suffered
a massive crash at Sachsenring last year and was determined to put it firmly behind him and attack the technical German track with his usual vigour.
He topped the leaderboard a number of times during the rain interrupted morning session and was constantly in touch with the fastest times throughout the afternoon. The hard charging Anglo-American is confident he can improve on things tomorrow and is looking forward to Sunday's race with high hopes.
Chris Vermeulen (1'25.293) was again visiting a track he has never seen before and the rookie Australian showed his determination to learn the twisty and technical circuit by completing the most laps in the morning session. Vermeulen continued his learning process in the afternoon and ended the day with the 17th quickest time and the second highest number of laps under his belt by recording a total of 55.
Today's practice was held in overcast conditions and a small rainstorm before this morning's session cost some valuable track time. The fastest time was set by Marco Melandri.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has another free practice session tomorrow morning and that is followed by qualifying in the afternoon. Round 10 of the MotoGP World Championship gets underway at 12.30hrs local time (10.30hrs GMT) on Sunday 16th July.
John Hopkins: "It's been a good day for us. I haven't had much luck here in the past and previous machines that we've had here have not made the track much fun.
The new Suzuki and the improved Bridgestones have really made the track come together for me. I am learning my lines and working on getting the best tyre solution for Sunday. It will be a tough day tomorrow as we have got to get through a lot of laps to make sure we have the best tyre and to make more improvements. I am looking forward to it and hopefully we will get a good qualifying position tomorrow and I think we will be ready come race day."
Chris Vermeulen: "Again another new track and again the weather wasn't kind to us early on with a bit of rain. That meant a little less track time. I quite enjoy the circuit and I did as many laps as I could today. We changed the bike setting and Bridgestone brought a lot of new tyres - we think we have found one that is heading in the right direction. For me it was about learning the track and hopefully I'll get a good night's sleep and go quite a bit quicker tomorrow."
Paul Denning – Team Manager: "It's been a relatively successful day at Sachsenring for Rizla Suzuki. The 2006 version of the GSV-R is, as we expected, a far more competitive proposition for this type of track. John's previous experiences here haven't affected his work-rate today and his very competitive showing. We still have some things to find to try and improve the bike's performance. Fingers crossed those improvements, and more improvements that John recognises can come from him, will see us move forward another step tomorrow. Chris has spent the day learning the circuit and has done a sensible job of getting a lot of miles under his belt. It's a very difficult and technical track and quite hard to go quick on straight away, especially with so many blind corners and elevation changes. I think Chris was a bit frustrated at the end of the day but I'm sure he'll be able to approach the track with a bit more experience tomorrow and take a big step forward."