Australian GP: Rizla Suzuki race report

Rizla Suzuki scores stunning top-eight finishes after tough weekend down under Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen produced two fantastic race performances at the Australian Grand Prix today, to leave Phillip Island...

Rizla Suzuki scores stunning top-eight finishes after tough weekend down under

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen produced two fantastic race performances at the Australian Grand Prix today, to leave Phillip Island still in fourth and fifth places respectively in the Riders' Championship.

Hopkins got off to one of his now customary flying starts and was up into eighth place from 14th on the grid by the end of lap one. He continued to chase down other riders in front of him and although he dropped back a place as he tried to conserve his Bridgestone race tyre, the Anglo-American battled back to seventh place at the end of the race to record his best-ever result at an Australian GP.

Vermeulen also provided a tremendous racing performance as he followed his team-mate home to claim eighth place, after starting from 16th on the grid. He got off to a solid start and made up a couple of places early on before getting involved in a four-way battle with Carlos Checa, Colin Edwards and Anthony West, eventually coming out on top at the end of the 27-lap race.

Today's race was held in dry and sunny conditions and the 50,425 fans at trackside were treated to a home win as new World Champion Casey Stoner crossed the line first on his factory Ducati, giving Bridgestone its first-ever Grand Prix victory at Phillip Island.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now travels north to Sepang in Malaysia for the penultimate round of the 2007 World Championship next weekend, on Sunday 21st October.

John Hopkins:

"We did exactly what we wanted to do today - obviously I would have liked to have finished higher - but to get seventh from where we started is a good result. I got a great start and made a couple of places up round the outside and from there I just rode my own race. I lost a bit to the front group and tried to conserve the tyre a bit because we had chosen one of the softer compounds from our allocation. De Puniet came by me, but I then latched on to him and used him as a windbreak. It was good to see Melandri come back to us because I know how close we are in the championship so it was good to get past him later on and make up some more points. I tried to make a move on De Puniet on the last lap but made a mistake in turn one and that ruined any chance of getting past him. I really want to thank all my crew here at Suzuki as they worked their butts off this weekend to give me the best possible package for the race!"

Chris Vermeulen:

"It's not great to finish in eighth, but it is a very good result from the weekend we've had. We've really struggled here both last year and this, but this year we have taken a big step and it's great to see that we have a direction to head in. If we improve the same next year we will be pushing for the front. Full credit to all my guys; Tom, Simon, Mats, Ray and Penny, they did a great job all weekend and worked their little hearts out! They gave me a great bike to race and now I can't wait to get to Malaysia."

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"I am really happy with the performance of the team and the riders today. A reasonable result looked like a lost cause at the end of yesterday, but the crew worked tirelessly to improve the settings of the bike, and hats off to Tom, Stuart, Sahara san and our factory engineers for getting the best out of the package today. But especially thanks to John and Chris who provided a performance today that, whilst we wouldn't normally shout about seventh and eighth, was a fantastic effort! The steps we've taken today allow us to leave Australia with an element of respect and some optimism that we are going to be able to challenge right at the front again over the final two events."

-credit: rizla suzuki

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Carlos Checa , Colin Edwards , John Hopkins , Chris Vermeulen , Anthony West , Paul Denning , Casey Stoner , Phillip Island