Valencia : Suzuki - Day Two
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins will start from eighth and ninth places respectively for tomorrow's final Grand Prix of the season at Valencia in Spain.
Vermeulen (1'31.606) was reasonably satisfied with his
position, even though he didn't get the best out of his Bridgestone qualifying tyre. The ever-improving Australian spent most of the session evaluating race tyres and certainly believes that he has a good combination for tomorrow's race.
Hopkins (1'31.663) was fractionally behind his team-mate in the qualifying session, but he made significant steps in performance on race tyres throughout the day. He recorded consistently fast times in the morning session and will be going all out from the start of Sunday's 30-lap race.
This afternoon's qualifying session was held in warm and sunny conditions, with temperatures reaching 31°C, which saw reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi secure pole position.
Tomorrow's race is the final round of the 2006 World Championship and either Rossi or Nicky Hayden will be crowned Champion at the end of the 30 laps which get underway at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT).
"The qualifying session was quite a bit hotter than yesterday afternoon's free practice and we spent the first part of the session working with race tyres, and hopefully we have found something that will work well tomorrow and last the distance. In qualifying I felt like I used the tyres to the best of my ability, but we were struggling to get a full lap out of them. I got around in eighth and I'm on the third row.
That gives us a chance to get away with the front guys. The times around here are so close and it's difficult to overtake, so a third row start will give us a good opportunity to be up there and we'll try our best tomorrow."
"I think today we have made a big step in performance, and we have started to use a different family of Bridgestone tyres from what we were using yesterday. On race tyres we improved consistently on yesterday's times throughout this morning and into this afternoon. We have a few more things that we are sure will work well tomorrow. We have qualified better than that before but Chris and I are both on the third row and I'm sure we can get good starts and give Rizla Suzuki an exciting final race of the season!"
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
"We made some big steps forward this morning – particularly for John – but unfortunately we weren't able to carry those forward this afternoon as the temperatures rose. Third row for both riders is a decent result, but of course you always hope for better. We seem to have a clear plan for tomorrow's race in terms of settings and tyre choice. It will be difficult over 30-laps tomorrow, but without doubt the current Suzuki GSV-R is by far the best Suzuki has ever produced, and both riders will be looking to send it out in style tomorrow during its final race!"