Japanese GP: Rizla Suzuki Friday practice report

Capirossi fifth at Suzuki's home GP in Motegi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Loris Capirossi was on the pace at Motegi in Japan during today's free practice sessions as he clocked the fifth fastest time. Capirossi (1'48.779, 42 laps) has won the...

Capirossi fifth at Suzuki's home GP in Motegi

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Loris Capirossi was on the pace at Motegi in Japan during today's free practice sessions as he clocked the fifth fastest time.

Capirossi (1'48.779, 42 laps) has won the last three Motegi Grands Prix and as this afternoon's session wore on he started to discover the form around the 4,801m Japanese circuit that has given him so much success. He worked hard with his crew and made a plethora of changes to his Suzuki GSV-R during both this morning's wet session and the hour in the afternoon on a drying track. Capirossi is confident of more improvements as he goes in search of that fourth win in succession at Motegi.

Chris Vermeulen (1'49.664, 42 laps) recorded the 16th fastest time as he looked to obtain the optimum set-up for his machine to allow him the find the grip through Motegi's complex layout that he was searching for. He recorded his best time on his final lap of the day as the changes that he and his crew made started to come to fruition and leave him with a clear direction for tomorrow.

Rizla Suzuki's regular riders were joined this weekend by Test Team Rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, making his first appearance of the season. Akiyoshi (P19, 1'50.879, 36 laps) will provide valuable race data during this weekend for the Factory to assist in the development of the 2009 GSV-R, as Suzuki looks forward to next year.

This morning's session was held in persistent rain which fortunately eased up in time for the track to dry out in the afternoon - despite very grey and overcast skies. Today's fastest time was set by Casey Stoner on his Bridgestone equipped Ducati.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will have another practice session tomorrow morning with all three riders taking part in the afternoon's qualifying session to secure the best possible grid positions for Sunday's 24-lap race that gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (05.00hrs GMT).

Loris Capirossi:

"It has not been too bad at the end of the day because we did struggle a bit this morning in the rain to begin with, but at the end of the session we found a good solution that we were happy with. This afternoon we had the first opportunity to ride with slick tyres and even though the condition of the track is not 100% we managed to get in a whole hour in the dry and we tried many things on the bike. We made small steps every time we went out and although we are not so far from the front on positions we are quite far away on time, so we must keep working hard and try 100% to go better here. This is an important race for me because it is a special race for Suzuki and I love the track and have won the last three times here. I think maybe it will be difficult to win here again - but why not?"

Chris Vermeulen:

"In the wet this morning we struggled quite a lot to get rear grip with the bike and the guys worked really hard between the sessions to improve things, but by this afternoon it had dried out enough to use slick tyres and we had a similar problem with the bike in the fact that the set-up wasn't exactly right. We've got some ideas and some important data from today so I am sure that we can come back much stronger tomorrow and be pushing a lot further forward."

Kousuke Akiyoshi:

"I have had a few problems with the bike today and I had a crash as well which didn't help with getting the bike set-up right. We can't quite get the grip from the bike that we want and we still have a lot of things to sort out with engine braking and mapping as it is very inconsistent, but I know the crew will sort it out for tomorrow and we will make big steps!"

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"Loris had a horrible weekend at Indianapolis and we had some long discussions yesterday to make sure that we lifted ourselves back to where things should be - it's great to see him back in attacking style today and putting the GSV-R up amongst the fastest riders. There are still a large number of setting improvements we need to make, but the starting point from today is not too bad at all.

"In the only dry session we had today Chris wasn't able to find the right solutions to let him push to the maximum, but nonetheless he improved dramatically towards the end of the session and he and Tom know exactly where the improvements can be made, so we fully expect Chris to be pushing Loris hard and up with the fastest riders tomorrow.

"It is good to see Akiyoshi san out there. As he showed here last year his level is very high but it just didn't quite click for him today. I am sure that he will work with his crew overnight to assess the data they have collected today and come out on the attack tomorrow!"

-credit: suzuki-racing.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Chris Vermeulen , Paul Denning , Kousuke Akiyoshi