Rizla Suzuki MotoGP travels to Eastern Europe next weekend fully refreshed from the mid-season break and with all the team ready to attack the second half of the season with confidence.
Chris Vermeulen heads to the 5,403m Brno circuit in the Czech Republic as very much one of the in-form riders in the MotoGP paddock. Vermeulen went into the break with back-to-back podiums in Germany and America and will be giving his all to get a hat-trick at a circuit where he performed well last year. Vermeulen finished fifth at Brno in 2007 following a race-long battle for that position with present team-mate Loris Capirossi and current World Championship leader Valentino Rossi.
Capirossi will equal the record for racing at Grand Prix events – currently held by Alex Barros - when he starts Sunday’s race. It will be his 276th start since his debut in 1990. The vastly experienced Italian has an incredible record at the Brno circuit during his career with five podiums, including a win in 2006 and 10 front-row starts including three pole positions. Capirossi has only finished a race at Brno outside the top-six on one occasion from his 17 races there, and is currently the lap-record holder. Although he is still feeling the after-effects of the injury he sustained at Assen in June, he is 100% focussed and prepared to give it all he has got next weekend to add to the impressive results he has already achieved at Brno.
Brno is situated in the south-east of the Czech Republic, in close proximity to Austria, Hungary and Poland, and it is this location that enables Brno to be one of the best attended races of the season. Up to – and possibly in excess of - a quarter-of-a-million fans are expected to pass through the gates over the weekend and if recent races there are anything to go by they will be treated to a great spectacle.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP takes to the track on Friday 15th August for the first two free practice sessions, with another hour of practice on the following morning. Saturday afternoon will see the all-important qualifying session where grid places will be decided for Sunday’s 22-lap race. Round 12 of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) on Sunday 17th August.
“I have had a good break and am now ready to get back into the saddle and start riding again. We finished the first-half of the season with good rewards from our efforts and I am sure we can continue that momentum at Brno. I got a good result there last year after a hard battle with Loris, and the Suzuki GSV-R was on the podium as well with John on board, so it all looks good for a strong performance from the whole garage. We also have a test after the race when we have a new bike featuring chassis and engine developments, we have a lot of confidence and high hopes for the changes, and I’m looking forward to see how all our thoughts and ideas will translate on the track, but the main thing is the race and I am fully focused on keeping my podium run going!”
“Brno has been a successful track for me and one I really like to race at. I won there in 2006 and would really like to do that again. I think the GSV-R will be well suited to the track and we will be very competitive there. My arm is still very sore and it is not 100% perfect, but it is getting stronger every day and I really hope that it will not trouble me too much during the weekend. I didn’t know I was that close to equalling the record of racing at GP events! I think there are a few guys from the old days that might have done more races, as they used to race two or three different bikes at every meeting, but it is a great achievement for me to have raced at as many as anyone else. My next target will be to make 300 – but the only important thing to me is that I am competitive and fighting with the best guys!”