Chinese GP: Rizla Suzuki qualifying report

Good qualifying sees Rizla Suzuki MotoGP near the front Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen secured their best grid positions of the season so far during qualifying for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix at ...

Good qualifying sees Rizla Suzuki MotoGP near the front

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen secured their best grid positions of the season so far during qualifying for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai.

Capirossi will start from the second row of the grid in sixth place, as the experienced Italian narrowly missed out on his first front row start for Suzuki. His best time of 1'58.941 was only 0.350 seconds away from the third fastest time, set by World Champion Casey Stoner, and but for a small mistake on his final lap Capirossi may well have been on the front row.

Vermeulen produced a fine display in qualifying, both on Bridgestone race tyres in the early part of the session and on the qualifiers in the closing stages. Suzuki's Australian rider was inside the top five on race rubber and the hard work that his crew have put in over the past two days certainly begin to show dividends. He will start from the middle of the third row, after qualifying in eighth place with a time of 1'59.325.

Today's qualifying was held in bright and sunny conditions with track temperatures again over 50ºC. Pole position went to Colin Edwards on his Tech3 Yamaha.

Tomorrow's 22-lap race gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (07.00hrs GMT) when both Rizla Suzuki racers will be looking to capitalise on their good grid positions and race to their best results of 2008 so far - but, with rain forecast at the 5,281m circuit, both riders will need to be ready for any conditions.

Loris Capirossi:

"I am quite happy today because this is the first time that we have had a good qualifying. We have worked hard to get the bike's settings right and it is now working well on race tyres. We still have a couple of options for which tyres to use tomorrow and we will decide on that in the morning. The qualifying and race tyres worked well and we have a good rhythm with the race package, and it will be good to start nearer the front. We will see what happens tomorrow as the forecast says rain which will be awful after all the hard work we have put in. Our target remains the same, which is to win races and get podiums, I know that will be hard here, but we will certainly be pushing for it!"

Chris Vermeulen:

"Things have been a lot better today. The tests after the last few events have really paid off and Bridgestone has helped out and brought us some new rubber that is a lot more competitive -- so I am really thankful to them for that. My crew have worked really hard this week and we have had to overcome some major issues in some of the sessions - the guys have worked their hearts out! It has definitely paid off as we were consistently inside the top-five during the qualifying session on race tyres, and on the qualifiers it is a lot better to be right up there. It will still be hard work from the third row, but Suzuki had a good result here last year and we know we can be competitive. I'm looking forward to the race and I'll certainly be giving it my best!"

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"It's been a decent weekend's work here in Shanghai and today's qualifying is our best of the season so far. The Bridgestone tyres have worked better in qualifying than they have elsewhere, so at least the guys can see the lights and that will give them a better chance of getting into the front running pace early on. It's no secret that Chris has sometimes struggled to get to his full potential in qualifying and we were all pleased that today he pushed as hard as possible - a few hundredths of a second certainly makes a difference to your grid position.

"It looked like we were going to have our first front row start of the year with Loris, but when you are pushing that hard sometimes mistakes happen. He nearly crashed on his last lap, but he kept it upright and was still able to bring the GSV-R home for a second row start.

"Whatever the conditions tomorrow, we are looking forward to a good race; we know our guys will be giving their maximum effort."

-credit: suzuki-racing.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Colin Edwards , Chris Vermeulen , Paul Denning , Casey Stoner