Suzuki racers in Australia
Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen both had their own race long battles during today’s Australian Grand Prix as they pushed themselves and their machinery to the limit to get the best results possible for Rizla Suzuki MotoGP.
Capirossi started from 11th on the grid and was soon involved in a battle with Colin Edwards and Randy de Puniet that was to last all race long. Capirossi used all his experience and traded places with Edwards a number of times over the 27-laps, before finally bringing his Suzuki GSV-R home in 10th place.
Vermeulen had to show his true racer spirit as he was pushed off the track on the first lap - as another rider fell - and into the gravel on the third corner. He rejoined the race but was in last position and over 25 seconds behind the leader. He forced his way through the field and was in with a chance of a 12th placed finish, but just couldn’t find the extra power that he needed to make the passes and had to settle for a very hard-fought point for 15th place.
Today’s race was watched by just over 50,000 Australian fans at trackside, and not only were they treated to a beautiful sunny spring day they also celebrated a home victory as Casey Stoner rode to victory on his factory Ducati.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will now remain in Australia for a day of testing tomorrow, before making the trip to Sepang in Malaysia for the final leg of the Pacific tour and the penultimate round of the season on Sunday 19th October.
“It has been a really hard day for us because we really struggle with the bike here at Phillip Island. Overall, set-up and the tyres were working well right up to the last part of the race, but I hard to push really hard to keep up with the other guys, and also as you could see our bike wasn’t really fast enough on the straight. We have to continue to work hard and keep developing the bike, we still have two races left and we have to do our best in them. Everybody is 100% committed to Suzuki and we know we have a long winter of testing to get the best from the bike that we can for next year. Everybody knows we are a still a bit behind and we have to work as hard as we can to improve our whole package.”
“I made a good start from a not so good grid position and had a strong first couple of turns. Then I got pushed wide by the domino effect of the crash, and although I thought I could still make it, there was nowhere to go and I had to run off. I lost a lot of time and just put my head down to try and catch the other riders and get into the points. The bike worked quite well, but it is a lot down on horsepower here and it was really difficult to be competitive with the Ducati that I caught up with – it just purely had a speed advantage and I couldn’t get past and away from it. In the last five laps tyre wear was an issue and that made it even more difficult out there. I think if we’d have stayed on the track in the first lap we’d have been a lot closer to the front, but it would have still been difficult to race with our power disadvantage. We’ve got a test here tomorrow and let’s hope we’ve got some good things to try!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Given the difficulties we’ve had in getting the GSV-R to work around Phillip Island, the weekend has had some very positive points in that our lap-times have improved a big step since last winter. I think our target of getting both bikes into the top-10 could have been realised if it hadn’t been for Chris’s off-track excursion on lap one. He fought hard to get back into the points and 12th place wasn’t far away at the end of the race.
“Loris also pushed to the maximum and took some big risks to improve his position, but both guys were handicapped today by a lack of outright speed and we certainly need some help from the Factory as soon as possible to compete on equal terms with the best guys.”
Australian Grand Prix Race Classification:
1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 40’56.643: 2. Valentino Rossi +6.504: 3. Nicky Hayden (Honda) +7.205: 4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +11.500: 5. Shinya Nakano (Honda) +11.914: 10. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +26.799: 15. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +48.935:
World Championship Classification:
1. Rossi 332: 2. Stoner 245: 3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 209: 4. Lorenzo 182: 5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 145: 8. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 118: 10. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 102: