in a positive mood for Australian Grand Prix
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP’s Australian star Chris Vermeulen is confident of a good result on home soil when he takes to the track for this weekend’s race.
Vermeulen made his MotoGP debut at the Phillip Island circuit in 2005 and scored his maiden podium at the same track the following year when he brought his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R home in second place. Vermeulen will certainly be looking for a repeat of that performance - on a track that he says is his favourite in MotoGP - not just for the pleasure of performing well in front of many friends and family, but also to put the disappointment of last weekend’s retirement in Japan firmly behind him.
Team-mate Loris Capirossi will be making his southern hemisphere race-debut for Rizla Suzuki at the 4,448m circuit, but the Italian has enjoyed success on the Island including a second place last year. Capirossi had a strong performance last time out in Japan to move into the top-10 in the World Championship table and is planning on improving on that position further in the remaining three races of the season.
Phillip Island is situated about 130km/s south-east of Melbourne in the state of Victoria. The track is so far south the next stop is Tasmania and cold winds often blow over the exposed venue from the icy waters of the Pacific Ocean. Phillip Island is regarded as one of the best circuits in MotoGP and no track on the calendar is harder on tyres. This is due to long corners that are entered at speed and with high power loads, but the whole circuit is an awe-inspiring sight and usually lends itself well to good and exciting racing.
Rizla Suzuki takes to the track on Friday 3rd October for two free-practice sessions, followed by another free session on Saturday morning. The afternoon will see both riders battle it out for the best grid positions they can obtain. Sunday’s 27-lap race is round 16 of the season and the action gets underway at the later start-time of 16.00hrs local time (05.00hrs GMT).
“I’m really looking forward to my home Grand Prix; the support of the Aussie crowd is going to be great. In the last couple of years we haven’t been particularly fast there, but we’ve come away with some good results. We’ve tested at Phillip Island a lot in the last couple of years and have definitely made improvements with the Suzuki GSV-R around there. With the improvements we’ve made this year and the developments on the chassis, plus the way we have moved forward with the Bridgestone tyres, I really think we will have a good chance there to challenge towards the front and I would really love to be on the podium again in front of my home crowd!”
“The next race is Australia and I really love the track on the Island. For sure it has been a good track for me and I’ve had some good results there. Maybe the weather is still a bit strange at this time of year because it is still really cold, but we hope that we get there and the bike works well and we can get a good result and continue with the progression of the GSV-R.”