Valencia : Rizla Suzuki - Preview
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen will be aiming to end the season on a high at the final round of 2006 at Valencia in Spain.
Hopkins will be looking to add to his current points tally with a high scoring
finish. The Anglo-American star is currently the most consistent points scorer in the MotoGP Championship, having scored points in the last 14 consecutive races. He is still searching for that elusive first podium finish and will be going all out to get that on race-day.
Vermeulen will be visiting a circuit that he knows well from WSB racing and MotoGP testing, and will be hoping to secure the points he needs to make him only the second Suzuki rider in history to score over 100 points in a season on a 990cc MotoGP bike – a feat first achieved by Hopkins earlier this year.
Valencia has now become the traditional venue for the final race of the season. The 4km long circuit is the is the only stadium track on the calendar and the huge crowds that visit the race can see almost all the action from any point around the arena. The final race looks like producing a breathtaking finish to the 2006 World Championship with both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden capable of lifting the trophy. Whatever happens it will certainly be greeted by a huge firework display at the end of the race, lit by the winner of the 30-lap event.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will take to the track on Friday for two free practice sessions, followed by another on Saturday morning. Both riders will be battling to secure the best starting position for Sunday's race during the hour-long qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. The 17th and final round of the season gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT) on Sunday 29th October.
John Hopkins: "Valencia is the race everyone wants to go to.
It's the grand finale of the season and people from all walks of life will be there for the last race of the year. It's the only track that is held in a stadium environment and that gives it an even more special feeling. The Spanish fans there are great – if not a bit crazy - and I'd certainly love to be the one lighting the fireworks at the end."
Chris Vermeulen: "A race track I know well, we have been here racing and testing a lot in Superbike and it was also the first place I tested for Suzuki. My favourite turn is the long left hander leading into the last turn, sometimes the bike slides here a lot and feels like my old dirt tracking days. I want to finish the season on a real high and will be going all out to achieve that. Also being another race in Spain, where the crowds are just amazing, will certainly add to the drama that I am sure will unfold."