US GP: Rizla Suzuki Friday notes

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP on the pace Stateside Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen finished in third and seventh places respectively on the first day of practice for Sunday's American Grand Prix. Hopkins was one of...

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP on the pace Stateside

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen finished in third and seventh places respectively on the first day of practice for Sunday's American Grand Prix.

Hopkins was one of the hardest working riders on the track today as he completed 66 laps of the 3.6km Laguna Seca circuit in California. He set his fastest time of 1'23.452 during the afternoon session as track temperatures reached 58C, the American-born Suzuki star looked comfortable on his GSV-R as he made his home debut on an 800cc MotoGP machine. Hopkins worked all day to get the correct set-up for his bike and search for the optimum combination of tyres for Sunday's 32-lap race, and believes that the best is still to come from him and the machine.

Vermeulen clocked a quickest time of 1'23.576 from his 59 laps, just over a half-of-a-second behind the fastest time set by championship leader Casey Stoner. Vermeulen suffered with some arm-pump in the morning session, but worked hard with his crew to find the set-up to overcome this later in the day. He too spent much of the day searching the best tyre pairing for Sunday's race.

Today's practice was held in warm, sunny, but breezy conditions with air temperatures reaching 27C.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will have one more practice session tomorrow morning followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (21.00GMT) on Sunday 22nd July.

John Hopkins:

"It feels good to be Stateside and it's been a pretty good day all round. The track owners and the asphalt layers have done a great job this year and the track is a lot better than it was the last time we were here. Some of the bumps have gone and the surface isn't breaking up anywhere -- so well done to them on that! Basically we got pretty lucky coming into this weekend because the set-up we had for the bike wasn't too far off. The crew did a great job to get it like that so we were able to start testing tyres straight away. Everything seems pretty sweet right now, I know there are a couple of places that I need to improve my lines and we need to get a bit more consistency. We need a couple more tenths and then we'll be right there. We'll all be working hard to get that and I'm sure that come tomorrow we'll come out and qualify great!"

Chris Vermeulen:

"It's great to be back here as it's a circuit I really enjoy. This morning with the cooler air temperatures we had some problems with the brakes - as I couldn't keep the heat in them - but the guys worked very well on that and sorted it all out. The bike set-up and the tyres from Bridgestone are all working well, and it doesn't seem to matter what tyres we put in they all work as well as each other! We will have to do some more tyre testing tomorrow to see which ones will have the best durability for the race. We made a lot of improvements today and if we can keep going in that direction I think we can hopefully qualify up the front tomorrow!"

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"The conditions here at Laguna Seca have been a lot more favourable than they were last year when the track started to break up. It appears that the new surface is a lot better and although it was a bit greasy in places early on it seems to be suiting the new 800s well. John and Chris both did a great job today and the their positions reflect the hard work that they both put in.

"Both the guys have got quicker as the day progressed and I am sure the improvements will continue tomorrow and we will see Chris and John battling for high qualification positions on Saturday afternoon, and hopefully for podiums come race time!"

-credit: rizla

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers John Hopkins , Chris Vermeulen , Paul Denning , Casey Stoner