French GP: Rizla Suzuki Friday notes

Plenty more to come from Rizla Suzuki MotoGP at Le Mans Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins was the fastest rider through the turn one speed-trap, as he powered his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to fifth quickest during today's free practice sessions...

Plenty more to come from Rizla Suzuki MotoGP at Le Mans

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins was the fastest rider through the turn one speed-trap, as he powered his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to fifth quickest during today's free practice sessions for Sunday's French Grand Prix.

Hopkins (1'35.746, 50 laps) used the first day's practice to fine tune the handling of his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R in readiness for this weekend's race and is sure that there is still more to come from both him and the bike. His highest speed of 287.7 through the speed-trap shows that he has the confidence in the GSV-R, as he powers into one of the fastest corners on the MotoGP calendar.

Chris Vermeulen (P13, 1'36.491, 44 laps) also used the day to make sure his bike was set-up for the stop-and-go nature of the Le Mans circuit. He made improvements during both sessions and is eager to get on with the job again tomorrow. Although he was in 13th position he is only just over a second from the fastest time of the day, set by Marco Melandri on his Bridgestone-shod Honda.

Today's practice sessions were held in overcast conditions and the end of this afternoon's period was affected by a small rain shower. With more unsettled weather forecast for the weekend, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will want to make the most of the final free practice session on Saturday morning, before the important hour-long qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 28-lap race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

John Hopkins:

"It's definitely been a work day! We've gone through a lot of things, trying to improve all the time. The bike wasn't set-up as well from the start as it was in China, so we have had to work a bit to get the bike how we need it to be. The whole crew have worked hard today and we made big steps forward. We are still looking to make things a bit better and I also have to work on my riding as I have to get a couple of lines sorted. Hopefully we'll get a good night's sleep and come out tomorrow and ride as hard as we can!"

Chris Vermeulen:

"After the poor weather here this week we have been quite lucky today to get almost a full dry day. The last 15 minutes of the second session was a bit wet, which was unfortunate as we were progressing really well with the bike. We've made pretty big steps and things are certainly heading in the right direction. We still need to find that bit more, but I'm sure that tomorrow we will get even better!"

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"It's been a day of sorting things out for both the riders. Neither John nor Chris were completely happy with the set-up from the start and both of them have worked hard with their crews to get the Rizla Suzukis up to their -- now expected -- competitive selves. We know we still have a bit more to do, but we also know what is needed. The whole field is again incredibly close so every tenth or even hundredth of a second that we can find is really going to be vital come tomorrow's qualifying to make sure that we are in the best grid positions possible for Sunday's race."

-credit: rizla

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Chris Vermeulen , Marco Melandri , Paul Denning