Chinese GP: Rizla Suzuki race report

Capirossi and Vermeulen robbed of higher finishes Rizla Suzuki MotoGP's Loris Capirossi was deprived of at least a top five position at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai today, through a mixture of bad luck and a small mistake. Capirossi...

Capirossi and Vermeulen robbed of higher finishes

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP's Loris Capirossi was deprived of at least a top five position at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai today, through a mixture of bad luck and a small mistake.

Capirossi was looking to challenge for a much higher position on lap five, but an error at the end of the back straight caused the Italian racer to run off the track. He re-joined the race in 12th place and began the task of chasing down the pack in front of him. Capirossi used all his experience to close in and pass five more riders to move him into seventh on the penultimate lap, but he suffered a transmission problem on the last lap and crossed the line in ninth position. This result gave Capirossi seven points, and moved him up to fifth in the riders' championship.

Chris Vermeulen had an afternoon he would rather forget. The talented Australian had looked impressive during yesterday's practice, but a similar technical fault to Capirossi which began directly from the start of the race caused Vermeulen to enter the pits and retire from the race at the end of lap six.

Today's race was declared 'wet' after heavy rain this morning, but with warm air temperatures of 22ºC drying the track, all riders started on slick tyres. A crowd of just over 20,000 witnessed former World Champion Valentino Rossi win his first race since September last year.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now travels back to Europe for fifth round of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship at Le Mans in France -- the scene of Vermeulen's premier Grand Prix victory last year -- on Sunday 18th May.

Loris Capirossi:

"It's difficult to say that this was a positive day, but we did improve a lot and if it wasn't for my mistake early on it could have been a lot better. I didn't want to lose touch with the top guys and my rhythm was really good, but I ran off and that cost me some places. I got back up to seventh and then I had a technical problem and I lost two positions right at the end. Now we will go to Le Mans and make sure that we are competitive there -- we had the potential to do much better today!"

Chris Vermeulen:

"Obviously I'm not happy with today's result; in fact that's probably an understatement! I had a problem right from the start and the chain kept slipping making the bike really difficult to ride. I felt like my pace was quicker than the four guys in front of me, but every time I tried to pass them the chain would just slip and I'd lose my momentum. Then towards the end of lap six the chain came off and I had to go into the pits and that was the race over. I am really disappointed with what happened, but we have to learn from this and make sure that it doesn't happen again. We now have to re-group and come back even stronger in France!"

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"Today has been a disappointing end to what has been a good weekend's work. Chris suffered an extremely unusual technical problem which I know the Suzuki factory will react to very quickly and he deserved much better -- he's an awesome racer who just needs his luck to change.

"For Loris it was his most competitive race on a Suzuki so far, and he had the pace to finish at least in the top five if everything had gone to plan. Unfortunately he made a mistake early on -- which can happen when you are pushing to the maximum -- and although he fought back to seventh he was denied by a similar problem to Chris.

"The Team is feeling very disappointed at the moment, but we have made some steps this weekend both in qualifying and with race pace, and the guys still have the confidence to look forward to Le Mans and pushing for the front positions."

Mr Masahito Nishikawa -- General Manager of Motorcycle Engine Design Department:

"It has been a good experience for me to visit the team and work with them here in China. I will now take my report back to the Factory and make sure that we can start to be more competitive. We will try to take the steps we need to make this bike a race winner."

-credit: suzuki-racing.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Chris Vermeulen , Paul Denning