Vermeulen eighth as Spies scores first GP points at a windy Donington

2008-06-22 11:06
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen battled to eighth place at today's British Grand Prix at Donington Park, with replacement rider Ben Spies finishing in 14th to score his first-ever MotoGP points.

Vermeulen was looking comfortable in sixth place, but as grip reduced he was unable to fight off the attacks from riders around him, and even though he fought right to the chequered flag he just couldn't find that extra bit he needed to hold on to a higher position.

Spies acquitted himself very well at his first-ever MotoGP event. The 23-year-old American continued with his steep learning curve to bring his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R home safely in 14th .He had a tough start to the race, but settled into a smooth rhythm by half distance and then produced his fastest time on the 21st lap of the race.

Today's race was held in dry, but very windy, conditions which kept temperatures down. Over 88,000 fans at trackside saw reigning World Champion Casey Stoner lead the race from start to finish, taking the win from current championship leader Valentino Rossi in second.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now makes the short trip across the North Sea to The Netherlands for the Dutch TT next Saturday, where it looks ever increasingly likely that Loris Capirossi will make a return to track action following his crash at Catalunya earlier this month which sidelined him for today's race with a broken hand.

Chris Vermeulen:

"It was a difficult race today as we hadn't had a lot of track time in the dry to prepare for it. For me though we have taken a big step with the bike compared to here last year in the dry - that had a lot to do with the Barcelona test and what we learnt there. I've got to say a big thanks to my team because they worked so hard this weekend and gave me a bike that worked really well considering the little amount of set-up time we had. Unfortunately we didn't have the pace of the front guys, and although I rode as hard as I could for the whole race it just didn't quite happen. Towards the end we didn't have much grip left in the rear tyre, which was unfortunate because I felt like I had the pace to fight with other riders around me. Let's now move on to Assen next week and see how things go there."

Ben Spies:

"It was a tough race as I was still trying to learn the tyres, the bike and the track in the first few laps. The first half of the race felt like garbage to me, but the second half was really good! I was running times towards the end that would have put us in the top-10 so I'm quite pleased with that. I was catching the guys in front and reeling them in lap-by-lap, but I just didn't have enough laps to get up and past them. I was definitely getting more comfortable on the bike and even though the result wasn't what I wanted the times at the end were really fast and I'm happy with that!"

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"Unfortunately we weren't able to turn the front row start into the result we were looking for today - it certainly wasn't through lack of effort on Chris's part. He got a good start and looked like he could get up there with the front guys, but he just didn't have that bit of extra pace that was needed to make a challenge. Chris is very motivated and if points were rewarded for hard work, he and his crew would be at the top of the board!

"Ben did a good job here this weekend and he looked comfortable and quick on the bike towards the end of the race. He turned in lap times that were good enough for the top-10 - and that is a credit to him. He hasn't made a mistake all weekend and has improved consistently no matter what has been thrown at him. He has done very well indeed. It's not yet clear whether Ben will race at Assen to continue his learning curve, but he will be there ready to step in if Loris is not able to ride." British Grand Prix Race Classification:

1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 44'44.982: 2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +5.789: 3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +8.347: 4. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) +12.678: 5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +14.801: 8. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +21.666: 14. BEN SPIES (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +49.591:

World Championship Classification:

1. Rossi 162: 2. Pedrosa 151: 3. Stoner 117: 4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 104: 5. Edwards 82: 9. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 51: 11. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 48: 19. BEN SPIES (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 2:

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

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