Vermeulen on top in the wet, Capirossi second in the dry Chris Vermeulen showed his wet weather skills to the full again today as he rode his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to the top of the time-sheets at a rain-sodden Mugello in Italy. Vermeulen put...
Vermeulen on top in the wet, Capirossi second in the dry
Chris Vermeulen showed his wet weather skills to the full again today as he rode his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to the top of the time-sheets at a rain-sodden Mugello in Italy.
Vermeulen put in consistently fast laps during the full wet afternoon session to record a time over half-a-second quicker than his nearest rival. He had showed his intentions in the morning session -- which started wet but dried out later on -- as he also topped the classification early on. Towards the end of the session Vermeulen was able to get out on the 5.2km Italian circuit on slick race tyres to get some valuable data in readiness for Sunday's race, and registered the seventh fastest time.
Loris Capirossi was making his home debut onboard a Suzuki and didn't disappoint the Italian fans as he set one of the quickest times of the day in the drying morning session. He headed the time-sheets right until the final seconds before being pushed into second place by John Hopkins on his factory Kawasaki.
Capirossi also looked comfortable in the full wet conditions and recorded some competitive times on his Rizla Suzuki. Even a fall later on couldn't dampen the Italian's spirits as he now gets ready to attack on race day in front of the vibrant Mugello fans expected on Sunday.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has one more free practice session tomorrow morning, followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon to decide grid positions for Sunday's 23-lap race. The main event on Sunday gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT), when both Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers will be going for glory.
"I am very happy today as we now understand a bit more about the bike in these types of conditions. When it was really wet I went well and felt good. I made one mistake today and went straight on, but that was just one of those things that can happen in those conditions. I think we have started the weekend for Mugello in a good way and are quite optimistic. We just hope we have good weather tomorrow so we can get the bike set-up for here. I want to say a big thank-you to all the team because they are all still working so hard to make it happen!"
"It was quite difficult here with the weather today at Mugello. This morning it dried out and at the end of the session I was able to go out on slicks, which was good for me as I am still learning a lot about this track. Unfortunately it was still wet in places and that made it difficult to go too quick, but I do feel like I know the circuit again. This afternoon was completely wet and at the start of the session it was a bit dangerous as there was so much water on the track. It stopped raining though and the standing water ran off and the surface became very consistent. I am obviously very happy with the way the bike performed in the wet and I hope it is dry tomorrow so we can try to do the same as we have done today!"
Paul Denning -- Team Manager:
"It is a pleasure to be back in Mugello, the race-track and the setting is just amazing, and with Loris in the team we now feel a little bit 'Italian'! The only drawback here has been the 'English' weather today which has spoilt everyone's preparations, but having said that we have to be happy with the commitment shown by both riders. Loris was second quickest in the half-wet half-dry session this morning and then Chris dominated the fully wet session this afternoon. As with all the other teams we have no idea how these results will translate into Sunday's race -- unless it's raining -- and if it continues like this tomorrow and dries up for Sunday, the race could be a bit of a lottery as nobody will have the correct data and settings. We have two very motivated riders and the small improvements we made in Le Mans have already translated well to the Mugello circuit, so we are certainly looking forward to building on today's good progress."