2007-04-15 23:10
Rizla Suzuki young-gun Cal Crutchlow showed his natural speed and ability to finish seventh in the opening race at the second round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Thruxton in Hampshire.

Starting from ninth on the grid, he made a slow start, but as the race developed he got faster and faster, closing in on the riders in front. In the second race, in front of Rizla Suzuki's home fans, he was battling for eighth place when he crashed unhurt at the final Club Chicane on the penultimate lap.

Team mate Chris Walker took ninth place in the first race, struggling for rear end grip on his GSX-R1000. For the second race, his crew made changes to his set-up and he was battling within the top six when he was forced to retire on the fourth lap.

In glorious sunshine and in front of a bumper crowd, Ducati's Gregorio Lavilla won both races.

Rizla Suzuki is next on track on Friday April 20th, testing at Oulton Park in Cheshire. It then returns to British Superbike race action at the third round of the series at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, on Sunday April 29th.

Cal Crutchlow:

"I felt as though I was able to compete in the first race, which was great. I had a good tyre, strong set-up and if I had been able to force my way past Tommy Hill earlier, I think I might have been able to challenge for the top six.

"The plan was to get a better start for the second race and get up with the front runners. An average start didn't help and I crashed out on the penultimate lap when my bike grounded out on the kerbing - but I'm ok. I'm getting to know my GSX-R1000 and team better with every outing and feel I am making quick progress: top six results will not be long coming."

Chris Walker:

"Not my best day at the races but once again I gave it my all. In the opening race I was on my spare bike and it wasn't handling exactly how I would have liked, so ninth was a fair result. For the second race my Rizla Suzuki was much better and I was in the top six before retiring with a technical issue.

"My team and I are working our hearts out to get to the front of the pack and there is not a more determined crew in the Championship. We are testing before Silverstone and that will help us for those races - it's also a track I know well from racing there in World Superbikes so I'm hoping for much improved results."

Simon Buckmaster- Team Manager:

"It's plain for everyone to see that Chris, Cal and the Rizla Suzuki team are trying hard and doing their best to race at the sharp end of the Championship. It didn't go to plan for the team at Thruxton in two incredibly hard-fought, tough races, but we will have better days than this, that's for sure.

"Clearly the team has work to do to be competitive but I'm confident we have the right riders, race bikes, staff and determination to make the steps forward required. The positives from today are that Cal is starting to show his potential and Chris leaves here hungrier than ever to fight for the podium. It's good news the team is testing before the next round; I'm sure we will be much more competitive at Silverstone."

Race One Results:1: Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) 27:52.872, 2: Leon Camier (Honda) +3.526, 3: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +6.833, 4: Shane Byrne (Honda) +7.136, 5: Tom Sykes (Honda) +12.799, 6: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +16.093, 7: Cal Crutchlow (Rizla Suzuki) +18.564, 8: Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +19.559, 9: Chris Walker (Rizla Suzuki) +21.443, 10: Karl Harris (Honda) +26.764.

Race Two Results:1: Lavilla 29:01.593, 2: Kiyonari +0.113, 3: Byrne +0.249, 4: Rea + 0.492, 5: Camier + 1.364, 6: Haslam +8.820, 7: Sykes +10.367, 8: Michael Rutter (Kawasaki) +11.078, 9: Harris +13.484, 10: Hill +15.609. DNF: Crutchlow and Walker.

Championship Positions(after two of 13 rounds): 1: Lavilla 100, 2: Camier 67, 3: Rea 49, 4: Kiyonari 49, 5: Byrne 45, 6: Haslam 43, 7: Sykes 40, 8: Rutter 28, 9: Chris Walker (Rizla Suzuki) 26, 10: Harris 25. 13: Cal Crutchlow (Rizla Suzuki) 12.

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story