News 13 Jun 2009

MotoGP: Rizla Suzuki tries new engine components in Barcelona

Rizla Suzuki PR:

Rizla Suzuki’s first practice session for the Catalan Grand Prix at Montmelo near Barcelona today showed signs of better things to come, with both Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen making significant progress.

Capirossi was one of the busiest riders on track as he completed 27-laps of the 4,727m circuit. He tried two different geometry settings in his Suzuki GSV-R and also had a run with some of the new engine components that Suzuki has brought to this Grand Prix. His best time of 1’44.340 was good enough for seventh place on the leader board, with the experienced Italian convinced he can improve considerably over the weekend.

Vermeulen (P13, 26 laps) used the same set of Bridgestone race tyres for the whole hour-long session and, as he and his crew made constant improvements to his bike, his times improved alongside. His quickest lap of 1’44.744 was recorded on tyres that had been used for a race distance and certainly gives Vermeulen and the team a clear direction for tomorrow and the rest of the weekend.

Glorious sunshine greeted the riders at the Montmelo Circuit today as air temperatures rose to 35ºC and the clear air and low humidity helped track temperatures to get up to 50ºC. With much of the same forecast for the rest of the weekend, the huge crowds that are expected to pack the massive trackside grandstands will certainly be hoping that the action on track is just as hot. Today’s fastest time was set by Valentino Rossi with local hero Jorge Lorenzo second quickest.

Rizla Suzuki has one free practice session tomorrow morning when Capirossi and Vermeulen will continue with their preparations for Saturday afternoon’s qualifying to decide grid positions for Sunday’s 25-lap race.

Loris Capirossi:

“It has been an interesting practice for us because we tried many different settings and found quite a lot of things out. At the end of the session I tried the engine with the new specification and it seemed to be a bit of an improvement on what we are using at the moment, but we have to check the data because it makes the bike perform a bit differently. Overall it has been a good session, but we still need to work a bit more on the set-up to get it perfect for here. The engine does seem to be an improvement and I want to thank Suzuki for all the hard work, because for us this is very important!”

Chris Vermeulen:

“It’s been good to get a full session in sunny and warm conditions. I went out with the hard front and the softer of the two rears – which I kept in for the whole session. I tried some different chassis set-ups between both of my bikes and we have certainly got a good direction. At the end – with more than race distance on the tyres – I did my fastest laps and moved up the order. The bike has felt reasonably good all day, but like I said we now have a direction to follow and we are sure that will help with both rear grip and durability of the tyres, because with such high temperatures that will be important this weekend. Hopefully we still have a long way to go and I am sure we will be making big steps tomorrow.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“It’s nice to see the sun shining again after the last few Grands Prix, and the atmosphere here in Barcelona is already buzzing in anticipation. We are reasonably pleased with today’s performance and feel that there is still quite a lot to come from both the guys – for a variety of reasons. We managed to try the different specification engine today and in its first run it showed good promise and, if we use it, it could be helpful to the riders come race-day. The pace at the front is as hot as ever and we have a lot of work to do to get to that level, but I think we have a good platform to build on.”

Gran Premi Cinzano De Catalunya Free Practice Classification:
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’43.038: 2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.302: 3. Casey Stoner (Ducati) +0.598: 4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +0.646: 5. Randy de Puniet (Honda) +0.833: 7. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.302: 13. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.706: