San Marino GP: Rizla Suzuki race report

Hard fought fifth for Vermeulen in San Marino Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen survived an early race scare at the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano today, to fight his way back through the field to score a well-earned fifth place. Starting from...

Hard fought fifth for Vermeulen in San Marino

Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen survived an early race scare at the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano today, to fight his way back through the field to score a well-earned fifth place.

Starting from seventh on the grid, Vermeulen made a good start and was up with the leading pack, but a huge high-side spat the Australian out of the seat of his Suzuki GSV-R on the second corner. Fortunately Vermeulen landed back on his bike -- damaging the fairing in the process -- but he had lost several places and was back in 13th position at the end of lap one. He set about chasing down the riders in front of him and, although the Misano circuit is a difficult place to pass on, Vermeulen stormed through the field to bring his machine home for 11 hard-earned points that promoted him to sixth in the World Championship table.

Loris Capirossi marked his 277th Grand Prix race with a typical battling performance as he finished an impressive seventh after starting from 11th on the grid. Capirossi was involved in several encounters with other riders during the 28-lap race and a daring overtaking manoeuvre on the last-lap nearly saw him take sixth, but he just couldn't make the pass stick and had to settle for seventh at the line.

Today's race was watched by over 51,000 colourful fans as they bathed in the glorious sunshine and clear blue skies that have accompanied this weekend's event. The vastly partisan home crowd were treated to a victory by local hero and current championship leader Valentino Rossi.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now packs up and heads over the Atlantic to Indianapolis in America, for the first-ever MotoGP at the famous Speedway circuit, to be held on Sunday 14th September.

Chris Vermeulen:

"I got a good start and, although I got pushed a bit wide in the first turn, I still thought I'd hold on to my position but as I entered turn two the rear tyre was just not warm enough and I had a big slide. I thought it was all over then, but luckily I landed back on the bike and although I smashed the fairing with my leg no harm was done! I didn't quite have the pace that I have had this weekend which was probably due to the higher temperatures, and we certainly slid around a bit more today! This is the first time we have raced with the new chassis and with the new construction front tyre that Bridgestone brought here for us, so with all things considered - and from where I ended the first lap - I think we had a good race. The tyres worked especially well and I did my fastest time on lap 25 out of the 28 -- it was just a shame I wasn't with the front group from the beginning or things might have been very different!"

Loris Capirossi:

"It has been quite a hard weekend for me as we have been working a lot on the new chassis and getting it right. I really want to thank my team as they have all worked so hard to get it the best it can be. I think maybe we changed too many things on the bike and lost our way a bit, but at the end the bike seemed to work ok. This morning during warm-up we went back a bit and then on the grid I had to change my front tyre and had to start with a new one that didn't have the right feeling to start with. The tyre soon got better and in the end I didn't go too badly! I made a big fight on the last lap and tried to overtake, but I made a little mistake and couldn't quite hold it, but for my 277th Grand Prix it was not too bad!"

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"These were not the results we were hoping for today, but it was a fantastic effort by both riders nonetheless. Misano is a very difficult circuit to pass on and for Chris to come from so far back - after a huge high-side on the first lap -- and fight his way through to fifth was a great performance. He had the pace to challenge for the podium, but there was no way it was going to happen from that far back! Loris's pace was very similar to Chris's and he too enjoyed some fantastic battles to get through the field. It could easily have been fifth and sixth, but Loris's manoeuvre didn't quite work on the last lap. Seventh isn't where Loris wants to be, but the spirit and determination he showed in the race indicates that he is as enthusiastic in his 277th GP as he was in his first!

"This was the Team's first race with the prototype chassis that we tested in Brno, and we always gather much better data from a full race distance than we do from a test, so we hope the work we have done this weekend is going to put us in good stead for Indianapolis and the final run-in to the end of the season."


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