TT Assen: Rizla Suzuki qualifying report

Vermeulen eighth as Rizla Suzuki's sole representative at Dutch TT Chris Vermeulen will start from the third row for tomorrow's Dutch TT at Assen, after qualifying his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R in eighth place during this afternoon's ...

Vermeulen eighth as Rizla Suzuki's sole representative at Dutch TT

Chris Vermeulen will start from the third row for tomorrow's Dutch TT at Assen, after qualifying his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R in eighth place during this afternoon's session.

Vermeulen (1'36.768, 25 laps) lost a lot of valuable set-up time during this morning's final free practice session due to a wet but drying track, following heavy overnight rain. He worked very hard during the qualifying to make up for the lost time and was pleased with the steps taken when it came to using his Bridgestone qualifying tyres to decide his starting position for tomorrow's 26-lap race.

Vermeulen will be Rizla Suzuki MotoGP's sole representative on the grid for the Dutch Grand Prix following Loris Capirossi's crash yesterday that has sidelined the experienced Italian with a puncture wound to his right inner forearm. Capirossi was present at the circuit today to support the team and will remain at Assen until tomorrow's race. Suzuki's Italian star is already making a good recovery from the operation he had yesterday to repair the injury and is planning to make a comeback at Sachsenring in Germany next month.

Today's qualifying was held in dry, but overcast conditions, reigning World Champion Casey Stoner will start from pole position with championship leader Valentino Rossi in second.

Tomorrow's race is the only Grand Prix on the calendar held on a Saturday and the lights will go out to signal the start at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Chris Vermeulen:

"It was a difficult qualifying session because we had so much work to get through after losing so much time this morning. We had a lot of set-up changes that we wanted to try but it was too wet earlier and we lost a lot of time sitting in the garage just waiting to see what the weather was going to do - so really from the morning session we didn't learn anything at all! In the qualifying session we got a little bit lost with set-up because we tried so many things, and in the end we went back to what we ran yesterday and that seemed to work well. My last couple of qualifying laps were pretty good and I managed to get on to the third row and scrape something out of the session. At least we are up there and if we get a good start and a strong first few laps, I think we can be competitive and fight for at least a top five finish."

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"This morning was really the same result for everyone - it was a waste of tyres and fuel because the weather never stayed consistent enough to get any meaningful information. The conditions were good enough this afternoon to see some amazing lap-times -- especially from Casey on the Bridgestones. For Chris it was a difficult session and we never really achieved the rhythm that we hoped we'd be able to. However, right at the end he did a great job to get the GSV-R into the top-eight and on to the third row of the grid. The guys know exactly what is needed for the warm-up and race so hopefully we'll be able to replicate that improvement and run a decent race-pace tomorrow, we know that Chris has great potential and that he is ultra hungry for a good result.

"It was hard to see the number 65 bikes in the pit today, all dressed-up, but with nowhere to go! The good news is that Loris is in disappointed -- but good -- spirits and stayed to support the team today. He is full of energy and is eager to get back on the bike in Sachsenring in two weeks."

-credit: suzuki-racing.com

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Chris Vermeulen , Paul Denning , Casey Stoner