Qatari GP: Rizla Suzuki Friday notes

Vermeulen shines through for Rizla Suzuki in the Arabian night Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen finished the first night's practice for this weekend's Qatar Grand Prix by making a huge breakthrough with his Suzuki GSV-R, as he recorded...

Vermeulen shines through for Rizla Suzuki in the Arabian night

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen finished the first night's practice for this weekend's Qatar Grand Prix by making a huge breakthrough with his Suzuki GSV-R, as he recorded the ninth fastest time around the 5.3km Losail International Circuit.

Vermeulen completed 43 laps during this evening's two practice sessions - the first-ever held at night using floodlights -- clocking a quickest time of 1'56.279. The Australian star improved dramatically between the two sessions as he took almost a second-and-a-half off his best time from earlier in the evening. Vermeulen worked hard with his crew to solve a persistent problem during the first session, and he now believes that a significant improvement has been made that will allow him to use the 2008 Suzuki GSV-R to its full potential.

Loris Capirossi -- making his first appearance for Suzuki at a Grand Prix event -- also circulated the Losail circuit 43 times on his way to 11th place overall with a best time of 1'56.922. Suzuki's newest recruit knows that there is more to come both from him and his machine and is confident of a much improved position both in tomorrow's practice, qualifying and in Sunday's race.

Tonight signalled the first time a MotoGP practice session had been held at night as the riders prepared themselves for Sunday's race which will be the first-ever asphalt based GP held under lights. The lower temperatures will certainly have a part to play in proceedings as the track surface dropped to 14ºC this evening. Reigning World Champion Casey Stoner clocked the fastest time on his Bridgestone-shod Ducati.

Tomorrow evening will see Rizla Suzuki MotoGP have one more practice session, before the all-important qualifying session gets underway at 22.55hrs local time (19.55GMT). Sunday's race is the first of the 2008 season, and the 22-lap event starts at 23.00hrs local time (20.00hrs GMT).

Chris Vermeulen:

"The first session of the 2008 season got off to quite a bad start to be honest and we really struggled. We had a big vibration problem that we have had a couple of times, but I've really got to thank my guys as they worked extremely hard between the sessions, and we think we have solved it! The second session was a lot better and I knew on my first lap out that we had made a big improvement - I even rode round on the out-lap with a smile on my face! It meant I could really start to work on getting the bike right and test some of the new Bridgestone tyres that we had in our allocation. We seem to have found a tyre that works well already and tomorrow we will do a longer run on it and make sure it is durable for the race."

Loris Capirossi:

"I think we improved a little bit in the last session and things seem to be getting better all the time. But I have some things wrong with my lines around the track and I need to work on that. There are still a few things we need to look at and get sorted out on the bike, but I am sure we can go better tomorrow -- we now have a clear direction to follow and I think we can take big steps forward."

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"It looks like we have finally unlocked some of the potential of the 2008 GSV-R this evening. Chris in particular made some fundamental improvements today that have helped him achieve very respectable lap-times and move the performance baseline considerably.

"Loris has also moved forward and we know we have a huge amount of work to do tomorrow to get to the podium challenging pace, but we have made significant steps towards that this evening, and I hope we can continue in that direction tomorrow."

-credit: suzuki-racing.com

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