Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins recorded the third fastest time during today's free practice session for Sunday's Czech Grand Prix in Brno. Hopkins (1'58.868, 47 laps) showed his intentions from the start this morning, clocking the...
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins recorded the third fastest time during today's free practice session for Sunday's Czech Grand Prix in Brno.
Hopkins (1'58.868, 47 laps) showed his intentions from the start this morning, clocking the second fastest time in the hour-long session just behind championship leader Casey Stoner. Hopkins was one of only four riders to lap the 5.4km Czech track in less than 1 minute 59 seconds -- a feat that the Anglo-American managed to repeat twice in the afternoon session. He still believes there is more to come from the bike and will be working with his crew tonight to find those extra tenths that he is looking for.
Chris Vermeulen (P10, 1'59.508, 44 laps) made impressive progress throughout the day and put together some consistent runs that show great promise for Sunday's 22-lap race. Fresh from his podium last time out in America, Vermeulen wasted no time getting on the pace and was up with the front runners all day. He worked hard with his crew to get the best settings from his Suzuki GSV-R and Bridgestone tyre combination, and is confident that he too will improve further tomorrow.
Today's practice was held in dry but overcast conditions with the air temperature reaching a high of 23C, and track temperatures getting up to 32C. The quickest time was set by Sylvain Guintloli on his satellite-team Yamaha, using a qualifying tyre.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has one more practice session on Saturday morning followed by qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
"Today went really well and it was great to get back on the bike after the break. I've been looking forward to getting back to a race weekend since before the race was even over at Laguna last month! It felt good out there today and I really enjoy Brno. This is the track that I have been riding a Grand Prix bike on the longest as I tested here when I was 16 -- so I know it pretty well. We've worked hard today, and my Crew Chief Stuart Shenton gave me a really good set-up right from the start so all I had to do was ride the thing! We've worked with Bridgestone to get the best tyres for Sunday and the only other thing has just been little changes here and there to get the bike right. We've got a few ideas for tomorrow and I'm sure they will make a difference, but for now we are happy where we are and looking forward to the race."
"Brno is a track that I don't have a lot of experience at, but I really enjoyed it last year and I felt comfortable out there straight from the start today. My confidence is still really high from Laguna and the guys gave me a good bike from the start. We've only had to make a few small changes and I can do the lap-times consistently. We still need to get an extra half-a-second or more to be right up there, but I am sure we will be able to find that tomorrow and in Sunday's race."
Paul Denning -- Team Manager:
"It's been a very positive first day back at work after the summer break for both team and riders. John found his rhythm very quickly and this afternoon did a 1'58.8 on his 20th lap, which is really encouraging for a good result on Sunday. There are still some improvements to be found in the bike and the guys will be looking at that this evening.
"Brno has never been Chris's favourite track, but he has approached it today with a lot of aggression and a lot of effort and the gap to the podium runners is not big at all. There are some specific changes that his team know can be made to improve the bike, and some areas of the track that Chris knows he can pick up time himself.
"It will be an interesting race on Sunday and the Rizla Suzuki team has made a good start to its preparations, and with the excellent news today that Suzuki is continuing with the relationship with Rizla for another year we will all be trying our hardest come Sunday to make it a double celebration!"
-credit: rizla suzuki