Vermeulen shines through for Rizla Suzuki in the Arabian night Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen finished the first night's practice for this weekend's Qatar Grand Prix by making a huge breakthrough with his Suzuki GSV-R, as he recorded...
Vermeulen shines through for Rizla Suzuki in the Arabian night
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen finished the first night's practice for this weekend's Qatar Grand Prix by making a huge breakthrough with his Suzuki GSV-R, as he recorded the ninth fastest time around the 5.3km Losail International Circuit.
Vermeulen completed 43 laps during this evening's two practice sessions - the first-ever held at night using floodlights -- clocking a quickest time of 1'56.279. The Australian star improved dramatically between the two sessions as he took almost a second-and-a-half off his best time from earlier in the evening. Vermeulen worked hard with his crew to solve a persistent problem during the first session, and he now believes that a significant improvement has been made that will allow him to use the 2008 Suzuki GSV-R to its full potential.
Loris Capirossi -- making his first appearance for Suzuki at a Grand Prix event -- also circulated the Losail circuit 43 times on his way to 11th place overall with a best time of 1'56.922. Suzuki's newest recruit knows that there is more to come both from him and his machine and is confident of a much improved position both in tomorrow's practice, qualifying and in Sunday's race.
Tonight signalled the first time a MotoGP practice session had been held at night as the riders prepared themselves for Sunday's race which will be the first-ever asphalt based GP held under lights. The lower temperatures will certainly have a part to play in proceedings as the track surface dropped to 14ºC this evening. Reigning World Champion Casey Stoner clocked the fastest time on his Bridgestone-shod Ducati.
Tomorrow evening will see Rizla Suzuki MotoGP have one more practice session, before the all-important qualifying session gets underway at 22.55hrs local time (19.55GMT). Sunday's race is the first of the 2008 season, and the 22-lap event starts at 23.00hrs local time (20.00hrs GMT).
"The first session of the 2008 season got off to quite a bad start to be honest and we really struggled. We had a big vibration problem that we have had a couple of times, but I've really got to thank my guys as they worked extremely hard between the sessions, and we think we have solved it! The second session was a lot better and I knew on my first lap out that we had made a big improvement - I even rode round on the out-lap with a smile on my face! It meant I could really start to work on getting the bike right and test some of the new Bridgestone tyres that we had in our allocation. We seem to have found a tyre that works well already and tomorrow we will do a longer run on it and make sure it is durable for the race."
"I think we improved a little bit in the last session and things seem to be getting better all the time. But I have some things wrong with my lines around the track and I need to work on that. There are still a few things we need to look at and get sorted out on the bike, but I am sure we can go better tomorrow -- we now have a clear direction to follow and I think we can take big steps forward."
Paul Denning -- Team Manager:
"It looks like we have finally unlocked some of the potential of the 2008 GSV-R this evening. Chris in particular made some fundamental improvements today that have helped him achieve very respectable lap-times and move the performance baseline considerably.
"Loris has also moved forward and we know we have a huge amount of work to do tomorrow to get to the podium challenging pace, but we have made significant steps towards that this evening, and I hope we can continue in that direction tomorrow."