Wet qualifying leaves Rizla Suzuki with work to do2009-07-18 08:50
Rizla Suzuki racers Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen will start tomorrow's German Grand Prix from the third and fourth rows respectively after a tough qualifying at a soaking Sachsenring today.
Capirossi (P9, 1'34.741, 25 laps) seemed likely to get a higher starting position, but was blocked by another rider towards the end of what looked like being his fastest lap. He still had time in the session to begin another lap to improve his grid position, but unfortunately he suffered from a high-side crash - similar to Vermeulen yesterday - which ended his afternoon's work and left him nursing some slight injuries.
Vermeulen (P12, 1'34.937, 23 laps) was still suffering today from the injuries he sustained yesterday and struggled to get a comfortable feeling on his Suzuki GSV-R during both this morning's dry practice and this afternoon's wet qualifying. Vermeulen was diagnosed overnight with a Grade One Acromioclavicular Separation of the left shoulder, which caused him severe discomfort when trying to brake hard or change direction quickly around the 3,671m German circuit. He will be able to ride tomorrow - as will Capirossi - but both riders are certainly far from fully fit.
Today's qualifying was held in torrential rain with air temperature only getting up to 14ºC and track temperatures never rising above 16ºC. World Champion, and current series leader, Valentino Rossi took pole-position on his factory Yamaha.
Rizla Suzuki will take to the track for tomorrow's 30-lap race at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT); with both riders looking to salvage something from what has so far been a painful weekend for the two.
"Overall the practice has not been too bad because we were able to work on getting a good wet setting. We made a few changes half-way through to improve engine-braking and control, but the biggest problem was the amount of rain on the track in the last 15 minutes of the session. I did quite a good lap and then on what felt like my best lap I lost some time behind Melandri, so I decided I had to go for it on the next lap, but in turn seven as I opened the throttle to accelerate out, the rear tyre just let go and I flew a long way off the bike. The good thing for us though is that the feeling in the bike is good in the wet and this will help us if it is like this tomorrow."
"I am quite disappointed with qualifying because we struggled to get the bike working well for me. That was probably due to my lack of track time at speed today, but we did make some steps during the session. Right at the end, when there was a lot of standing water, we struggled to get good grip from the rear of the bike and that is something we'll look at tonight so we can be ready if it is wet tomorrow. With my injuries it will be a bit easier for me physically if it is wet tomorrow, but if it's dry I'm expecting it to be a tough race. My shoulder and my hip are both hurting from the crash on Friday, but I'll be ok to race and trying as hard as I can!"
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"It's been a tough day and we can probably count ourselves somewhat fortunate that we have two riders to start tomorrow's Grand Prix, given Chris's accident yesterday and Loris's huge high-side today. It will be a difficult afternoon for both of them tomorrow, but hopefully we can take some steps forward during the race and take some positives out of the weekend."
Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland Free Practice Classification:
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1'32.520: 2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.640: 3. Casey Stoner (Ducati) +1.239: 4. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +1.884: 5. Alex de Angelis (Honda) +1.970: 9. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +2.221: 12. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +2.417:
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office
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