Australian GP: Rizla Suzuki Friday practice report

Vermeulen third in the wet on the Island Rizla Suzuki MotoGP's Australian racer Chris Vermeulen got his home Grand Prix off to a good start as he recorded the third fastest time during this afternoon's wet session Vermeulen moved into the ...

Vermeulen third in the wet on the Island

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP's Australian racer Chris Vermeulen got his home Grand Prix off to a good start as he recorded the third fastest time during this afternoon's wet session

Vermeulen moved into the top-three with a third of the session left and continued to lap consistently fast in the torrential conditions. He was very pleased with the improvements that have been made to the GSV-R since the Team last tested at Phillip Island, and is convinced that the base settings from today will put him in a good position for the rest of the weekend.

Loris Capirossi looked good in this morning's opening session -- held in pleasant spring conditions. His quickest time of 1'31.248 from his 28 laps gave him ninth place overall, but he was only two-tenths away from a top-three position. Vermeulen was 14th in the dry as he used the session to get the set-up right for his machine over the 4,448m circuit.

Phillip Island is certainly a venue of differing weather characteristics and it has been said that if you don't like the weather you only need to wait ten minutes and it will change, and today was no exception. This morning's practice was held in warm sunny conditions with clear blue skies and track temperatures reaching 30ºC, but in marked contrast this afternoon was overcast with heavy rain and the track only reached a chilly 15ºC. The fastest combined time was set by Casey Stoner during this morning's session.

Rizla Suzuki has one more free practice session tomorrow morning followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 27-lap race will be at the later time of 16.00hrs local time (05.00hrs GMT) when both riders and fans alike will be hoping for fine weather at this fantastic racetrack.

Chris Vermeulen:

"It's been a positive first day at Phillip Island and a lot better than we have had in the last few years. The whole team and factory have worked really hard since the test here early in the year and -- like everybody knows -- we've had a new chassis in the lead up to this Grand Prix and this has all definitely helped the bike in all conditions. This morning we didn't do our best lap-time but we stuck with one set of tyres -- which were not the stickiest we had in our allocation -- and worked on getting the best set-up we could. In the rain this afternoon we worked on pretty much the same thing and I think we have a very good base set-up that will also help us to improve tomorrow!"

Loris Capirossi:

"This morning was not too bad for us, we made a few changes and we looked to be moving on with the set-up of the bike for those conditions. This afternoon it was really cold and when it is like that it is really difficult to get the tyres warm and get the grip we are looking for. We tried to modify a few things but we never really found the right solution. We have some ideas to go much softer with the setting and then put more weight on the tyre. I am not that happy when conditions are like this, it looks like being cold again tomorrow but not raining -- I hope that is the case!"

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"Chris went very well in the wet this afternoon which was very good to see, but the most important result of today is that we can judge that we have taken a step forward with the GSV-R at Phillip Island in terms of chassis geometry and power delivery, both of which are helping to make a more consistent lap-time.

"In the dry Loris was only 0.2 seconds away from third place and was able to lap very close to his best time on tyres which were at the end of quite a long run. Obviously for both conditions we've still got a heap of work to do to close up to the front guys, and we know there is a lot more work to do with the bike to take it to where Suzuki feel that it can be, but at the same time the direction is correct and that gives us confidence for the rest of the weekend and for the future potential."Australian Grand Prix Free Practice Classification: 1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1'30.094: 2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +0.670: 3. Alex de Angelis (Honda) +0.949: 4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +0.957: 5. Randy de Puniet +0.976: 9. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.154: 14. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.625:

-credit: suzuki-racing.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Chris Vermeulen , Andrea Dovizioso , Paul Denning , Casey Stoner , Phillip Island