Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will start tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix from either end of the fourth row of the grid following a difficult qualifying session at Estoril today. Hopkins (P10, 1'37.280, 27 laps) will start from the front of the fourth row...
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will start tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix from either end of the fourth row of the grid following a difficult qualifying session at Estoril today.
Hopkins (P10, 1'37.280, 27 laps) will start from the front of the fourth row after a mistake on his final qualifying tyre cost him valuable tenths of a second that could have seen him much higher up the grid. Suzuki's Anglo-American star topped the time-sheets early on in the session -- when all riders were using race tyres -- and is confident that he can perform at a high pace during tomorrow's 28-lap race.
Vermeulen (P12, 1'37.365, 24 laps) struggled to overcome some vibration issues on his GSV-R during the day, but is convinced his crew have the necessary information from today's testing to overcome the situation in readiness for tomorrow afternoon.
Today's qualifying was held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 49C. Reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden will start from pole position on his factory Honda, when the lights change to go for the start of round 14 of the MotoGP World Championship at 15.00hrs local time (14.00hrs GMT) tomorrow.
"The practice today went alright as far as getting a race set-up. We've done the best times we've done all weekend and the bike is feeling really good. We made a couple of changes and I altered my lines around here and everything seemed to come together on the race tyres. I still need to improve through section four on the track. It's nothing to do with the set-up of the bike it is totally down to me to make some line changes and get an extra three or four tenths through there. I'll be thinking about that overnight and try and figure out what's going on and how to improve it. If tomorrow is a dry race we are really confident that we have a good tyre for the 28 laps so it will be down to me getting a good start and making my way up to the front group. As far as qualifying this afternoon it just didn't happen today. On my last tyre I just ran a bit too hard on my out lap and messed up the edge grip, but that's just the way it goes. I'll be looking to make up as many positions as I can from the start and I can assure you I'll be running a good pace tomorrow!"
"Being on the fourth row is certainly not the position we wanted to be in. It's going to be tough tomorrow, but I'll be up for it. We are having a few handling issues this weekend and we're suffering from a bit of chatter. There were some parts of the track where I didn't know if the bike would vibrate or just hold its line and it made things a bit difficult. We haven't had anything like this all year, but Tom and the guys know what they are doing and I'm sure with all today's data we will be able to fix it before tomorrow. It's going to be hard work for both John and I starting back there. We'll have to be a bit aggressive over the first few laps and try and make our way through."
Paul Denning -- Team Manager:
"Having two bikes on the fourth row is not the result we were looking for today, but I don't believe it tells the true story of either the bike's or the riders' potential. It's never easy starting from further down the grid to achieve a top result. Both the guys have shown all season that they have got superb fitness and a very aggressive race strategy so I am sure you will see both of them forcing their way towards the front group as quickly as possible.
"We basically didn't take the step forward this afternoon that our competitors did on qualifying tyres, but 28 laps will be a long way around the Estoril track tomorrow and we are optimistic that Rizla Suzuki's qualifying positions will be drastically improved on in the race tomorrow."