VERMEULEN DOMINATES ASSEN OPENER Chris Vermeulen won today's opening ninth round World Superbike championship race at Assen in Holland in front of a sun-drenched crowd. The Australian took the lead on lap four of the 16-lap encounter at the ...
VERMEULEN DOMINATES ASSEN OPENER
Chris Vermeulen won today's opening ninth round World Superbike championship race at Assen in Holland in front of a sun-drenched crowd. The Australian took the lead on lap four of the 16-lap encounter at the 5.9km Dutch circuit and came home 3.4s ahead of second place James Toseland, with Japan's Noriyuki Haga third.
Starting from pole position, it was Vermeulen's second win of the 2005 series and allowed him to close the points gap on championship leader, Troy Corser, who was fourth. Vermeulen's Winston Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Karl Muggeridge finished in ninth place after running with the leading group in the early stages.
Ronald ten Kate - team manager:
"That was an absolutely fantastic race from Chris. After taking pole position in yesterday's Superpole, we had a good feeling for the races today. But it all has to happen on the day, and today it did. His front tyre looked pretty worn towards the end of the race so we'll probably make some minor adjustments for race two this afternoon. Karl started at a good pace and was running with the leading group but his grip level dropped off significantly towards the end so we'll have to look at what changes we can make there."
Chris Vermeulen - winner
"It was a frantic start and everyone was going pretty quick so I just wanted to see if I could get to the front and make a break for it. I pushed pretty hard for the early laps but I was still quite surprised to see the lap time. It's been a while since I was on the top step but I love it here at Assen and got a taste for it last year. It certainly wasn't an easy race though - it was really hard work but the team's worked hard all weekend so I guess that's fair enough! I didn't notice the crowd until the slow-down lap but it's good to be able to do it in front of the team's home fans. I'll just have to see if I can give them a double this afternoon."
Karl Muggeridge - ninth
"I got a pretty bad start and scorched my rear tyre trying to catch up with the leading group. I tagged on to the back of them but the grip really dropped off in the second half of the race. The bike still felt too hard and was really difficult to turn - I actually had to push on the bars to get it round some corners. We'll have to look at everything for race two to see if I can keep going at the pace up front for 16 laps."