Victorious Vermeulen leads Le Mans 1-2-3 for Bridgestone Bridgestone-shod riders dominated this afternoon's rain-soaked French Grand Prix as Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen claimed a well deserved debut MotoGP victory ahead of Honda Gresini's Marco ...
Victorious Vermeulen leads Le Mans 1-2-3 for Bridgestone
Bridgestone-shod riders dominated this afternoon's rain-soaked French Grand Prix as Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen claimed a well deserved debut MotoGP victory ahead of Honda Gresini's Marco Melandri and Ducati's championship-leading Casey Stoner to score Bridgestone's second 1-2-3 of the season. In just 24 hours in Le Mans, Vermeulen transformed his twelfth place qualifying result into a sensational victory over 28 tough laps in torrential wet conditions.
Melandri challenged Vermeulen for a large portion of the race but settled for an equally impressive second place, the first podium of his 2007 campaign and his first on Bridgestone tyres. Casey Stoner extended his championship lead to 21 points after a competitive ride to third place, his fourth podium of the season. Pramac d'Antin's Alex Hofmann claimed his best ever GP result with a fantastic fifth place while there was disappointment for local hero Randy de Puniet who suffered the misfortune to crash out from the lead of his home GP after 8 laps having thrilled the French fans with a duel alongside fellow French rider Sylvain Guintoli.
Bridgestone-shod riders have now taken four victories in five races this season to equal the highest number of wins in a season which was achieved in 2006. Suzuki has also become the third manufacturer to win on Bridgestone tyres after two Honda victories with Makoto Tamada in 2004 and nine wins with Ducati since 2005. It was also the first ever MotoGP victory on Bridgestone tyres in wet conditions.
Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager Motorcycle Sport Department
"We are very pleased with the overall result this weekend after what was an eventful and difficult race for all riders. We are thrilled to see the fourth win on our tyres this season and our congratulations must go firstly to the Suzuki team and especially Chris Vermeulen for his tremendous debut victory. Thanks to Marco Melandri and Honda Gresini, as well as Casey Stoner and Ducati for such exceptional results today. Their efforts have helped us score the second Bridgestone 1-2-3 in just three races. An additional special mention must go to Alex Hofmann for a strong fight to fifth place, his best ever result, to make it four of Bridgestone's teams in the top five. Finally, it was a great to see Randy lead his home GP but unfortunately he was unable to get a fitting result. All in all, I think we can reflect on a job well done this weekend in a wide range of conditions and it has been especially enjoyable to take our first ever win in France in such fashion."
Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
"I am really happy for this weekend's performance because our slick tyres were competitive in the dry practice sessions and we were looking good in race trim. In the end though, we were faced with very different and difficult wet conditions. We were able to use our latest specification wet weather tyres and could reap the benefits from the wet tyre test we carried out in Jerez in March. I think we would have been well placed to score a good result whatever the conditions this afternoon, but the competitiveness of our wet weather tyres was particularly satisfying. We have put a lot of work into our wet tyre development and today's result - our first win in wet conditions - shows that we have found a good direction. The season is long and technical development is ongoing for race and qualifying tyres. We have a two day test session here in France from tomorrow and we look forward to continuing in this positive direction."
Chris Vermeulen - Suzuki - Race Winner
"I am very happy for myself, the team and everyone involved this weekend. We had a few problems on Friday morning but we were progressively getting quicker during the weekend. I am sure even if it had been a completely dry race we would also have performed well. The conditions were tough and it was difficult to know exactly how hard to push. There were some guys passing me and a lap or two later they were down the road. I was sliding around a bit and then the rain started to fall a bit harder and I decided to come in earlier to change to bikes and of course to the Bridgestone wets. It was earlier than most, but I knew that this track does not dry that quickly and that it would remain slippery. I just stuck my head down and tried to get as much heat into my Bridgestones as I could. It felt really good for first 8 or 9 laps until the rain got heavier and heavier and in the end I couldn't even hold full throttle down the straight. I am over the moon with my first MotoGP win, so thanks to Suzuki for a great wet bike set-up and to Bridgestone for competitive wet weather tyres."