Double top six for Rizla Suzuki MotoGP in Catalunya battle

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen raced to fourth and sixth places respectively during today’s eventful Gran Premi Cinzano De Catalunya at Barcelona this afternoon.

The race had to be re-started after a first corner crash involving six riders – including Hopkins – and when it finally got underway Loris Capirossi, Sete Gibernau and Marco Melandri were unable to re-start.

Hopkins got a great start and was in touch with the leaders early on as he went in search of his first podium. He was involved in a long battle with Kenny Roberts Jr that saw the ex-World Champion come home just ahead of Hopkins, as the Rizla Suzuki man recorded his second fourth placed finish of the season.

Vermeulen raced to his best ever finish in MotoGP and was pleased with the result. He didn’t get as good a start in the second race as he did in the first, but he kept his bike online and brought his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R home in a high points scoring position.

Today’s race was watched by over 107,000 fans – a MotoGP one-day attendance record. They enjoyed trackside temperatures of 27°C, and they were treated to another victory by World Champion Valentino Rossi.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now makes a long cross-Europe journey to the re-designed Assen circuit in Holland, for round eight of the MotoGP World Championship. The race is the second and final Saturday race of the year.

John Hopkins:

“Well, what can I say? A bit of a rough start first time around, I didn’t get off the line good and on top of that I got nailed from behind. I hope everyone involved in the accident is ok and they don’t lose any time racing. It was incident after incident and I had to restart on my spare bike after the crash – I also twisted up my back in the accident and it’s bruised pretty badly. I tried to preserve my tyres as much as possible and see where we could come home. Unfortunately we couldn’t quite clinch that podium but another fourth place is good. We’ve just got to keep moving on and rolling forward. The team worked extremely hard this weekend and we have just got to keep swinging, as we go for as many points as we can for the rest of the season.”

Chris Vermeulen:

“Quite an eventful start to the GP. It was a shame about the accident, I don’t like to see anybody get hurt. Then I stalled as I came up to the line for the re-start, but we got it going and were able to get away with the others. I didn’t get as good a start as I did first time but we did ok. A few guys came past and they were pushing really hard – the conditions were hot and slippery and that might have caused a couple of the others to go down. I kept the bike upright for my best ever Grand Prix finish and I’m really happy about that! We now have something to work on from here!”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“It would have been difficult to predict that result – for many reasons – this weekend in Catalunya. The first thing I want to say is that both riders’ results – despite their tremendous efforts and fantastic ability – are very much down to their crews dedication and ability to get the job done right. The bike John rode in the re-start hadn’t even been down pit-lane this weekend and it had a different engine fitted two hours before the race. It gives a rider massive confidence when they know that a bike that has essentially been a mixture of disassembled parts just before the race is going to run strongly and reliably for race distance. John was pretty beat up after the first corner crash. I think adrenaline kept him going and he is down at the clinic being checked over, but he’s going to be ok for Assen.

“A special mention needs to go to Bridgestone, this was probably their least competitive track of the season, but the steps they have taken forward compared to the dramas of 2005 demonstrates their commitment to win. Of course many riders had differing problems in the race today, but nevertheless the speed that Rizla Suzuki MotoGP showed well throughout the race would have put us in a competitive position in any case. We hope all the riders that weren’t able to make the re-start will be fit and ready for the show at Assen in a few days time, they have our best wishes for speedy recoveries.”


Gran Premi Cinzano De Catalunya Race Classification:

1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 41’31.237: 2. Nicky Hayden (Honda) +4.509: 3. Kenny Roberts Jr (KR211V) +9.174: 4 JOHN HOPKINS (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOOGP) +13.465: 6. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +25.198:

World Championship Classification:

1. Hayden 119: 2. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 99: 3. Rossi 90: 12. JOHN HOPKINS (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOOGP) 40: 14. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) 31:



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