Chris Vermeulen looked good from the start of Friday’s MotoGP FP1 session in France and topped the leader-board during the early part of the outing. He appeared increasingly likely to better his best time of 1’36.301 – recorded during his 16 laps – but the weather intervened and he had to settle for fourth place.
Loris Capirossi was also making improvements and had just made several modifications to his bike – which he was sure would improve his ninth position – before he too was forced to head for shelter.
4th – Chris Vermeulen Speaks…
Troy Bayliss completed his first day of testing on board the Desmosedici GP9 at Mugello today alongside regular factory test rider Vittoriano Guareschi.
It was a first outing for the Australian on a MotoGP bike since the final round of 2006, when he followed up his second World Superbike title by competing in the final Grand Prix of the season at Valencia, scoring a sensational one-two for Ducati with victory ahead of his team-mate Loris Capirossi.
Three times a race winner at Motegi, and starting from the second row of the grid on Sunday, hopes were high for a Loris Capirossi podium in Japan — not least on the part of the rider himself. Seventh place and his first points of 2009 were of little consolation to the Rizla Suzuki man, who revealed after the race that his aspirations extended much further than a top ten finish.
Vermeulen Assesses Losail, Qatar performance.
Some significant close season improvements on the GSV-R and some decent preseason test results saw Rizla Suzuki head to the championship-opening Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar in good spirits, but things did not go according to plan.
A DNF following a high speed crash for Loris Capirossi and seventh place for Chris Vermeulen meant the race itself was something of an anti-climax for the team and they will be hoping for a much better showing next time out in Japan.
Will Capirossi or Vermeulen get it done on the Suzuki?
Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen were regularly amongst the top riders at all of the 2009 tests, culminating with Capirossi recording the third quickest time at the final test in Spain last month, with teammate Vermeulen narrowly behind with the fifth fastest lap. Now both riders will be planning to continue with the good run of form that has seen the 2009 Suzuki GSV-R emerge as one of the most improved bikes of the year.
Oakley Extends Partnership as MotoGP Sunglasses Supplier.
Thanks to an extension of their agreement with Dorna Sports, Oakley is pleased to announce that the brand will continue to be the official sunglasses supplier for the 2009 and 2010 MotoGP World Championship seasons.