to the end in final race of the year
Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi used all his experience to fight to the chequered flag at Valencia today to secure himself a top-10 finish in the 2008 MotoGP World Championship.
Capirossi started from eighth on the grid and was battling with the front group during the early stages of the 30-lap race. As grip became an issue in the much higher temperatures at the Spanish track today, Suzuki’s Italian star rode a lonely race for much of the duration until he came under pressure in the closing stages. Capirossi tried to defend his eighth place, but was overtaken on Valencia’s long start-finish straight as the penultimate lap started. He wasn’t able to claw back the position and brought his GSV-R home in ninth.
Chris Vermeulen took a gamble on using harder compound race tyres as the track temperatures rose to 30ºC, but unfortunately it didn’t pay off and the Australian racer struggled to find the level of grip that he wanted to be competitive throughout the race. He managed to pass a couple of riders in the closing stages and eventually crossed the line in 13th place, to give him eighth overall in the championship standings.
Today’s race was watched by almost 118,000 fans that crowded the stands around the 4,005m circuit. Casey Stoner took victory on his factory Ducati with a faultless flag-to-flag performance.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will now remain in Valencia for a two-day test, where it will begin working on its assault on the 2009 campaign with the first evaluation of the latest incarnation of the Suzuki GSV-R.
“It was a really hard race today. I got a good start and had a nice rhythm in the first few laps. I stayed in touch with the front guys and I stayed there for a while and everything seemed to be ok until I had a little bit of trouble with the front tyre. I had chosen a soft compound and it started to move a little bit under braking and then the edge grip started to drop off a bit on the rear and I had to change my rhythm. I tried to defend my position but Lorenzo got me on the straight and I couldn’t do anything about it. This is now the last race and we have to start working hard for next year, I am a bit upset that we won’t have as many tests in the winter because we have a lot to do on the bike. I am sure Suzuki will work hard to help us because we still need to improve a lot.”
“With the hotter temperatures we gambled with tyres and it was probably the wrong decision because from the first lap I really struggled to get feeling out of the tyres. It didn’t really get any better throughout the race so it made it very difficult for me to even keep the bike upright - as well as going as quick as I could. At the end of the race I was quicker than a few of the guys in front of me, but I was still a long way behind where we need to be. The engine just didn’t have enough on the one long straight, but for the test tomorrow Suzuki has brought a lot of parts for us to try, and fingers crossed they’ll be good parts and take us a good step forward.”
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
“Through no lack of effort or commitment the results today were far away from what we would like to achieve. From today the most positive thing to happen is that we now start work on the 2009 season straight away. The bike is not a bad package at all, but there are a couple of restrictions that are hindering the riders over race distance. We know the strong points of the GSV-R - and the weak points are extremely clear as well. Suzuki, and the team, is fully committed to taking a massive leap forward next season.
“I’d like to thank everybody involved with the team for their sterling efforts in 2008, the level of commitment has never faltered – regardless of the situation – and if we continue with that attitude we have a great chance of turning things around in 2009!”
GP Parts Europe de la Comunitat Valenciana Race Classification:
1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 46’46.114: 2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +3.390: 3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +12.194: 4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +24.159: 5. Nicky Hayden (Honda) +26.232: 9. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +38.228: 13. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +52.833:
World Championship Classification:
1. Rossi 373: 2. Stoner 280: 3. Pedrosa 249: 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 190: 5. Dovizioso 174: 8. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 128: 10. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 118: