Rizla Suzuki racers Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen have a tough race ahead of them tomorrow after a difficult qualifying session left the pair with a mountain to climb at Valencia.
Capirossi (1’34.097, 25 laps) and Vermeulen (1’34.537, 29 laps) will start tomorrow’s 30-lap race from 13th and 18th on the grid respectively, after the pair struggled to get the Suzuki GSV-R to perform at its peak around the 4,005m Spanish circuit, despite their best efforts to find a satisfactory solution. Capirossi did produce his fastest lap of the day right at the very end of the session and still believes he can be in amongst the battle in tomorrow’s race, whilst Vermeulen will test a new setting in tomorrow’s warm-up to try and find the answers he is looking for.
The air temperatures only reached 22ºC today and a strong cool breeze kept the track below 30ºC for the whole qualifying session, this too caused problems for the Suzuki pair as they just couldn’t get enough heat in the tyres to help them get the optimum performance from the Bridgestone rubber. Casey Stoner secured his third successive pole position on his factory Ducati, with local favourites Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo completing the front row.
Tomorrow’s race is the final round of the 2009 season and both Rizla Suzuki riders have a chance of finishing in seventh in the championship – along with Vermeulen having the opportunity of being the only rider this season to record a point scoring finish at every event – so the pair certainly have personal targets to aim for when the lights change to go at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT).
“This is starting to feel normal for us because when we look at the data from the bike, always, always, always when it is cold it is nearly impossible to ride it and this is true again today! It is very cold today and the bike is not making the tyre work well and we have struggled a lot. The team has done a good job because we have tried many different things to get the best set-up, but we just couldn’t find the best result. I am quite upset and very frustrated, because we did our best today and we are still near the back of the grid. I feel optimistic for tomorrow and I will certainly fight for the best result in the race. What is most important now is that we work 100% on the 2010 bike, because finding the solutions at the moment for this bike is not very easy.”
“I’m not happy to be qualifying in 18th and it has been a difficult weekend for us so far. We just can’t get a good feeling from the bike in these cold temperatures and the wind seems to be upsetting the bike a lot. It is difficult to get the tyres warm and although we’ve improved the bike, it is nowhere near enough. We have a bit of work to do tomorrow, but we’ve got something else we’ll try in warm-up and hopefully that is going to help us.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The result today is so disappointing and doesn’t reflect at all on the efforts and hard work of the team and riders. The trend of the bike simply not working well in colder and – in today’s case – much windier conditions has continued and I have say that the bike didn’t look at all pleasant to ride out there today. Suzuki has work to do to improve this situation and next week’s test and the start of preparations for 2010 can’t come soon enough!”