Rizla Suzuki MotoGP wildcard racer Ben Spies rode to a superb sixth place in atrocious conditions during the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix yesterday.
Spies pushed hard all race as he was involved in a battle for fourth place with reigning World Champion Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso. The new AMA Superbike Champion looked set to make an attack on both riders towards the end of the race, but conditions deteriorated so dramatically after 20 laps the race was stopped, and the result was declared as it stood at that time.
Chris Vermeulen looked like he was again going to show his skill in the rain – after being baulked from the start - as he made his way from 16th up to 10th during the first three laps, but even Suzuki’s rain-master couldn’t overcome the extreme conditions and although he made it up to ninth by the time the race was stopped, he couldn’t make any further impact on the riders in front of him.
Loris Capirossi had a weekend that he will want to forget as he never got to grips with the set-up of his Suzuki GSV-R around the Indianapolis circuit. He got a good start, but was pushed wide on the first corner and was relegated to last position. Capirossi did try to fight back, but was never in a strong enough position to challenge further up the field. He did manage to pass three riders, but finished just outside the points in 16th place.
The first motorcycle race to be held at Indianapolis since 1909 was attended by a large and enthusiastic crowd, who had to endure the remnants of Hurricane Ike that swept over the circuit before and during the race, eventually causing the race to be brought to an early end due to safety issues. Valentino Rossi won his fourth race in succession and now looks certain to be crowned World Champion.
Rizla Suzuki now makes the trip to the home of Suzuki for the next round of the championship at Motegi in Japan on Sunday 28th September, when regulars Vermeulen and Capirossi will again have the support of a wildcard rider, this time in the shape of Test Team Rider Kousuke Akiyoshi.
“It was a good race today for me because my goal was to better my result at Laguna and I did that. I know that I had a fourth place bike today though because the crew had got it working great, but after 10 laps I couldn’t see anything through my visor and that was why I never made an attack because I had to follow the other guys around me to see where I was going – I think if I had lost them I would have got caught by everybody! I rode as hard as I could and ended the race with a good sixth place. I wish we could have done a bit better, but every time I’m getting on a GP bike I’m getting better results so who knows what’s to come!”
“It was very difficult out there today and starting from 15th didn’t help. There was a lot of spray and a quicker line soon formed so it was very tricky when you moved off that to try and pass. I got through into the top-10 and felt like I had a bit more, but when I tried to push there was no more lap-time to come. I was then kind of stagnant with the guys from fourth place on and just couldn’t catch them. At the end the conditions got really bad and the wind was so strong things were blowing all over the place and it was getting a bit dangerous, so it was a good idea to stop the race even though it was a pity we didn’t go the full distance. So here’s to coming back here next year and doing a lot better!”
“The whole weekend has been hard for me as I never found the best solution on the bike. During this morning’s warm-up the bike felt a bit better in the dry and we hoped the conditions would stay like that for the race - unfortunately the conditions were not only worse they were the worst I have ever ridden in! In the first corner someone pushed me wide and I was last and although I tried to fight back it was so difficult out there that I couldn’t really make any difference. I want to forget about this weekend, the race has now gone and I want to concentrate on the next event and make a good result for Suzuki and the team in Japan!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The first Indianapolis GP was a great event with superb organisation and a very enthusiastic atmosphere – it was just a shame that the weather had such a big hand in today’s proceedings because the circuit deserved better than that today. Ben did an extremely good job all weekend and wet or dry he was able to be very competitive - he thoroughly deserved his top-six finish.
“We really wanted to be at the sharp end with Chris and Loris, but it just didn’t happen. We know that we can be a lot better than where we finished this weekend and we will now re-group and head off to Japan. We need to step it up a gear and improve on our performance as we begin the run-in to the end of the season.”
Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix Race Classification:
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 37’20.095: 2. Nicky Hayden (Honda) +5.972: 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +7.858: 4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) +28.162: 5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +28.824: 6. BEN SPIES (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +29.645: 9. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +38.442: 16. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1’05.620:
World Championship Classification:
1. Rossi 287: 2. Stoner 200: 3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 193: 4. Lorenzo 156: 5. Dovizioso 129: 6. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 117: 11. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 86: 19. BEN SPIES (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 20: