VERMEULEN WINS LAST-LAP MONZA CLASSIC
Chris Vermeulen took his first win of the 2005 World Superbike championship in the second race of this afternoon's fourth round at Monza in Italy. His Winston Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Karl Muggeridge, finished in fourth place behind Regis Laconi and Troy Corser.
The 18-lapper around the historic 5.8km Monza circuit developed into a thrilling battle with the top four riders breaking away and swapping positions in each other's slipstreams. After starting the race from the second row of the grid, Vermeulen battled his way past Muggeridge, Yukio Kagayama and then Corser, passing Laconi on the final lap.
Ronald ten Kate - team manager:
"I'm just so happy. Not only for Chris but for the whole team who have been working so hard this weekend. They really deserve to celebrate tonight after making such a significant step forward in the development of the CBR1000RR. Chris rode a fantastic race and timed his passing move to perfection. I was very pleased for Karl's fourth place as well, although I think maybe he deserved to get on the podium. His perseverance and determination after the problems of the first few rounds has really impressed me. There are still 16 races left in this year's championship so anything can still happen. We will hopefully carry this form on to Silverstone and look for even better results there."
Chris Vermeulen - first
"That feels so good. We've all been working a very long time for that and it's been hard work. Two second places at Valencia were a step forward but we've made an even bigger one here at Monza this weekend. Once I'd got past Troy in that second race I just put my head down to try and catch Regis, who'd spent a long time at the front. I caught him just at the right time on that last lap and managed to hang on. It certainly makes up for the disappointment of not finishing the first race and, overall, it's been a really positive weekend. We've moved everything forward and let's hope that can continue."
Karl Muggeridge - fourth
"I would so like to have got on that podium but I made a little mistake exiting the first chicane on the final lap and Troy managed to open a little gap. I should have beaten him but it wasn't to be. I tried to pace myself through the race but the pace didn't ease up at all and I just couldn't find a way past Chris in the first half. But the bike is much better and it's been a good weekend for us. There's still heaps of work to do to improve it in some areas but we've got something now that can take us forward for the rest of the season."
Next round: Silverstone, GB - 28 May