VERMEULEN MISSES OUT ON FRENCH DOUBLE
Chris Vermeulen was denied his second winning double of the season at Magny-Cours today when the chain jumped off the rear sprocket of his Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR. Having won the 23-lap opener of the final World Superbike championship round at the 4.4km French circuit, Vermeulen looked to be in control of race two, despite the close attentions of Italy's Lorenzi Lanzi.
On lap 19, however, Vermeulen cruised to a halt at the end of pit lane, realising that his 2005 World Superbike championship season was over. Lanzi went on to win the race from the Japanese pairing of Yukio Kagayama and Noriyuki Haga.
The race was stopped on the first lap after Vermeulen's team-mate, Karl Muggeridge, was involved in an incident with Andrew Pitt and three other riders. Muggeridge was unable to make the restart, suffering a laceration to the back of his neck that required stitches.
Ronald ten Kate -- team manager:
"Chris's sprocket was damaged with one tooth particularly bad. We need to make some further investigations but maybe some debris got in between the chain and the sprocket, which basically cost Chris the race and his second double of the season. With what happened to Chris, and Karl getting taken out at the start, it's almost too much to take in for just one race, let alone the last one of the season. Obviously, we're all disappointed that the year has ended this way but, hopefully in about a week and a half, we'll be in a position to announce our 2006 rider line-up. Then we'll start preparing for next year."
Chris Vermeulen - DNF
"I'm not happy, that's for sure. We've only had two DNFs this season and neither of them have been my fault. I knew there was a problem because it was jumping for a few laps before the end, especially when I was accelerating hard. I was just trying to slow the pace down as much as I could and would have settled for second or third, because there was quite a big gap behind Lanzi. It's better if that sort of thing happens on the first lap because after you've put in all that hard work, it hurts a bit. Our season started badly and it's just ended badly, too; but there have been a lot of high points in between and we've certainly shown lately that we've got the bike working a lot better. It's good to hear that Karl's OK, though."