Vermeulen carries the flag for Rizla Suzuki MotoGP at Jerez

2007-02-24 04:20
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen today carried on the detailed testing of the new GSV-R at the second day of the Official MotoGP Test at Jerez in Spain.

Vermeulen conducted numerous chassis setting and tyre tests throughout the day as he assumed the mantle as the Team's sole test rider in the absence of John Hopkins. Suzuki's Australian star began a comprehensive tyre test to find the best combination of Bridgestone race tyres in readiness for next month's race at the 4.4km Jerez track.

Today's testing was initially delayed due to heavy fog covering the circuit. When the mist finally gave way to bright sunshine Vermeulen began his programme and completed 84 laps. He recorded a quickest time of 1'41.363 to give him 13th place overall. Today's fastest time was set by Marco Melandri on his Bridgestone-shod Honda.

Kousuke Akiyoshi continued to familiarise himself with the Spanish track as he prepares for his race debut here next month. Suzuki's All-Japan Championship star also got through a lot of work as he continued with the development of the new 800cc machine. His time of 1'43.610 placed him in 20th position out of the 23 riders participating.

John Hopkins was again present at the circuit continuing his rehabilitation from his crash in Qatar. He worked on some intensive physiotherapy with Team Physio Dean Miller and has also done some physical fitness exercise, including swimming and cycling, as he continues in his quest to be fully fit for the first round of the season in Qatar in two weeks time.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has one more day of testing at Jerez tomorrow which features a timed 40-minute session at 14.05hrs local time (13.05 GMT), where the rider with the fastest time will win a BMW car.

Chris Vermeulen:

"We tried a lot of things today with mixed results. It was pretty wet when we first went out after the fog had finally gone, and we struggled with grip a bit. I did lots of laps this afternoon and we got through a lot of work, mainly testing chassis and suspension settings. I also did some long runs and tested some tyres for Bridgestone and found something that was very good and a big step forward. I am looking forward to the timed session tomorrow as it will be good to get some competition after all these months of testing."

Kousuke Akiyoshi:

"I have had a good day today! I would like my time to be better, but it is my first time here so I know it will get better. I have done a lot of laps and am happy to be helping Rizla Suzuki MotoGP in this test. I will be doing more work tomorrow and look forward to getting a good time."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"Despite losing some of the day to the fog it has actually been a very productive day's testing for us. We have got through a lot of work and although Chris has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders to get through the full test programme - given that John's injuries are restricting him from riding the bike - he has taken that on well and pushed it forward. Chris has been through some setting work that is more significant to him rather than John, but more importantly he has begun the tyre testing programme and it looks like we have a clear direction - both front and rear - for when we come here for the race next month.

"Akiyoshi san has put himself under a lot of pressure by coming to the final GP test of the year on a track he has never seen before, but he has acquitted himself well and not made any mistakes. With a night's sleep under his belt I am sure he will come out fresher and a bit faster tomorrow."

MotoGP Official Test Day Two Classification:

1. Marco Melandri (Honda) 1'40.383: 2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +0.025: 3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +0.198: 4. Alex Hofmann (Ducati) +0.365: 5. Toni Elias (Honda) +0.569: 13. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.980: 20. KOUSUKE AKIYOSHI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +3.227:

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

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