Brave victory for battered Vermeulen at Monza
Despite going into the race with badly damaged ligaments in his right thumb from his Friday crash, Australian Chris Vermeulen won by a massive margin of 9.1 seconds on his Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR at Monza in the World Supersport championship.
"I don't know how I did that," said Vermeulen, obviously in a great deal of pain from his injury after a gruelling race. "I got a great start and when I saw my board a couple of laps later I couldn't believe how far ahead I was. My team worked really hard all weekend to give me this victory -- as did the guys in the Clinica Mobile! Pirelli came up with some brilliant tyres once again and the WP guys gave me a great raced set up. All I had to do was hang onto the bike for the race distance!"
Vermeulen didn't realise at the time that his team mate Karl Muggeridge had been forced to retire. "I didn't think I'd done anything differently at the start," said Muggeridge after the race. "But when we looked at the data it seems I burnt the clutch out making my start for the warm up lap."
Muggeridge can take heart from his performance this weekend having dominated qualifying and only missing out in the race because of a small mechanical problem.
Team manager Ronald ten Kate was full of praise for both his riders, "I'm delighted and I must admit somewhat amazed to see Chris win like that. There was a time this weekend when it looked like Chris wouldn't even be fit to race. Not only did he ride but he took the victory in fantastic style and increased his championship lead to 29 points.
"I consider Karl as a winner also this weekend," added ten Kate. "He may have had some bad luck in the race but he proved to everybody in qualifying that he is a real force in the World Supersport championship."
World Supersport Championship
Round Four, Monza Italy
16-17-18 May 2003
Race result and best lap times
1, C Vermeulen, AUS, Ten Kate Honda, 1m 52.635
2, J VD Goorbergh, NED, Yamaha, 1m 53.417
3, I MacPherson, GBR, Van Zon Honda TKR, 1m 53.564
4, S Chambon, FRA, Suzuki, 1m 53.544
5, F Foret, FRA, Kawasaki, 1m 53.454
6, S Charpentier, FRA, Honda, 1m 53.694
7, C Kellner, GER, Yamaha, 1m 53.317
8, A Corradi, ITA, Yamaha, 1m 53.639
9, P Riba, ESP, Kawasaki, 1m 53.722
10, K Fujiwara, JPN, Suzuki, 1m 53.605
K Muggeridge, AUS, Ten Kate Honda, DNF