News 1 Jun 2009

MotoGP: Capirossi just misses podium, Vermeulen 10th

Suzuki Racing PR:

Loris Capirossi was just over one second away from scoring a sensational podium on his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R at his home Grand Prix at Mugello in Italy today.

Capirossi – like the rest of the field – started the race on wet tyres after heavy rain soaked the Italian track. He was boxed in on the first corner and found himself back in eighth at the end of the first lap, after starting from third on the grid. As the track dried out, Capirossi pitted at the end of lap eight to change to his GSV-R which was equipped with a dry weather setting and slick tyres. He quickly carved his way through the field and was soon up with the leaders, before moving into the lead on lap 15. The sheer speed that some other bikes demonstrated down Mugello’s long straight made him fight to hang on to every position. With two laps remaining Capirossi was still second, but just couldn’t get enough out of his bike to hold on and eventually brought his bike home in fifth, just three seconds behind the winner, Casey Stoner.

Chris Vermeulen got an amazing start from the fourth row of the grid and led the race at the end of lap one. He stayed with the leaders right up until he pitted to change his bike, but he was unable to generate enough grip in his slick race tyres to give him the performance he wanted to continue his challenge towards the front. As the race wore on he started to get a better rhythm and reeled off consecutive personal fastest laps, eventually overtaking two riders towards the end to give him a 10th place finish.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now heads across Europe for the Catalonian round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship, which will be held at the modern Montmelo Circuit near Barcelona in Spain, on Sunday 14th June.

Loris Capirossi:

“I tried my best today and we nearly got the result the whole team deserved. When I came in to change my bike I was quick immediately and I tried to catch Casey. When I did, I thought I’d done a good job to get there but from then it was very difficult to stay with him and keep a distance from the guys behind. The whole team worked so hard this weekend and we tried to find the best solution for today’s conditions and the bike felt like it had a good rhythm in both the wet and the dry. We now need a lot of help from Suzuki, because on the straight it is difficult to follow and stay with the faster guys – and this is what is limiting us at the moment. I want to say a big thank-you to everybody and we will try to build on this next time.”

Chris Vermeulen:

“I had a good start and everyone braked early for the first corner and that allowed me to take a wider line where it was a bit drier and I got through into second. A couple of corners later I moved into first and everything felt quite good while the track was wet, but as it started to dry out I struggled a bit with entry grip on the rear. I rode as hard as I could to try and stay with the front guys. I waited for a lap or two to come in and change bikes and I think I did it at the just the right time, but then I struggled to get enough heat into the slick tyres. I did as much as I could and got past a couple of guys right at the end and brought the bike home in 10th – obviously we were hoping for a bit better. The next track we go to is one where we’ve been a bit more successful so hopefully we’ll do alright there.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“We have mixed emotions after a thrilling Mugello GP today. Loris rode like an animal and timed his pit-stop to perfection, but what really allowed him to challenge the front group was the speed of his in and out laps – the commitment he made on the new slicks dragged him right up to the leaders. He managed to lead his home GP and right up until two laps from the end the podium was within his grasp. Ultimately though, the length of the Mugello straight, and the speed of our competitors, made it impossible to hold them off. Nonetheless, only three seconds from the win and a second off the podium is a result Loris can be proud of. I am convinced he got every last bit of performance out of the GSV-R today. Hopefully we can give him more from the package shortly so he can compete even more strongly.

“Chris made an amazing start and was very aggressive in fighting his way to the front, and also timed it right for his pit-stop. Unfortunately he was unable to generate anything like the grip that Loris did on the slicks and that cost him in the earlier dry laps. Chris did well to keep the bike upright and score some decent points.

“The overall performance this weekend – whilst we would have loved to have been on the podium – puts us in positive spirits for the Grand Prix in Barcelona in two weeks time.”