TT Assen: Rizla Suzuki Friday notes

Vermeulen in top 10 as Capirossi crashes out Rizla Suzuki MotoGP had a day of mixed fortunes at Assen in the Netherlands today as Chris Vermeulen showed promising signs for the weekend ahead, whilst Loris Capirossi crashed at high-speed, ...

Vermeulen in top 10 as Capirossi crashes out

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP had a day of mixed fortunes at Assen in the Netherlands today as Chris Vermeulen showed promising signs for the weekend ahead, whilst Loris Capirossi crashed at high-speed, resulting in a visit to the medical centre for an operation to his right forearm.

Vermeulen (P10, 1'37.282, 54 laps) lost a bit of time in the morning as his mechanics worked hard on getting the best engine set-up for the 4,555m long Assen circuit. Their dedication paid dividends as he improved on every run throughout the day eventually clocking a fastest time at the end of the second session -- on worn race tyres - that was only 0.463 seconds away from second place.

Capirossi (P15, 1'38.082, 33 laps) was making his comeback at Assen following a collision at Catalunya earlier this month, and vindicated his decision to participate this weekend by setting the 12th quickest time in this morning's practice. Unfortunately, in this afternoon's session he crashed in a fast left-hand corner and high-sided his Suzuki GSV-R. As the bike and Capirossi tumbled towards the gravel at high-speed, his right inner forearm got stuck underneath the bike resulting in a substantial and deep hole. Capirossi was immediately taken to the medical centre and operated on to repair the wound. He will now rest the injury and will not take any further part at this weekend's event. AMA Champion Ben Spies -- who is present at Assen -- will not replace Capirossi.

Today's practice was held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 32C. Fastest time of the day went to World Champion Casey Stoner on his factory Ducati.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has one more practice session on Friday morning, followed by the qualifying in the afternoon. Saturday's race is round nine of the MotoGP World Championship and the 26-lap event gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Chris Vermeulen:

"It's been not too bad on the whole today. We had a bit of a problem this morning with some engine settings on the bike and it made it quite difficult to ride. The technicians worked hard to correct it and they even got some information from the factory in Japan to help us and together we were able to overcome the problem. The bike worked a lot better this afternoon, but because I missed a lot of this morning's session with trying to get the set-up right it left us with a lot of work to do this afternoon. We managed to get inside the top-10 and I am sure there is even more to come tomorrow.

Loris Capirossi:

"After this morning's practice I was quite happy, because my hand was working well and there was no pain. I felt that I was riding quite well and settling back into things. In the afternoon I came in and put on a new tyre and the first lap out it felt quite good, but when I changed down from sixth to fourth gear and leaned on the left side I lost control and the bike jumped me out of the seat. The problem was that when I crashed the bike came on top of me and I get this hole in my arm. It was not easy when that happened, but I know I have great support all around me from many people. I will now work to get myself 100% right and jump back on the bike as soon as possible!"

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"When things are difficult it often seems to be the case that it gets more difficult before it becomes easier again! Loris knew it wouldn't be easy to come back after 17 days since he broke his hand, but he immediately justified his decision to be here by being able to ride at a decent speed, to supply good feedback and know where we were heading over the weekend. I think it is necessary to make it clear that the crash was nothing to do with his recent hand injury and it was just one of those things that happens in racing. He was lucky that he didn't break anything or cause more damage to the original injury, because it is a really fast place to crash. Unfortunately the bike got on top of him and ripped a sizeable piece of flesh from his right forearm. Dr Costa and his team performed an operation to close and stabilise the wound and Loris will now start his recuperation to get himself fit again -- for sure it will be Sachsenring in two weeks time!

"On a brighter note, despite some problems this morning, Chris has been able to complete the day's evaluation work, and on tyres that were past their best he was able put in his fastest time at the end of session two. That put him only a few tenths off of a top three position. Apart from Casey Stoner all the riders are really close at the moment and we feel confident that Chris and the GSV-R have got quite a lot to give over the rest of the weekend!"


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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Ben Spies , Chris Vermeulen , Paul Denning , Casey Stoner