Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins clocked the third fastest time during today’s free practice sessions for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Turkey.

Hopkins (1’55.062, 34 laps) consistently improved his times throughout the day and has identified some alterations that he and his crew will be working on overnight to make the latest 800cc GSV-R perform even better tomorrow.

Chris Vermeulen (1’55.707, 37 laps) recorded the seventh fastest time of the day at a circuit that holds good memories for him following last year’s pole position and top 10 finish. The 24-year-old Australian set his fastest time on the 23rd lap on the same Bridgestone race tyre. Today’s quickest time was set by Casey Stoner on his Bridgestone-shod Ducati, as Bridgestone riders filled eight of the top 10 places.


Vermeulen and Hopkins were the second and third respectively during this morning’s session when conditions were very difficult for all riders. Overnight rain left the track very wet and as it began to dry situations didn’t improve as the 5.3km circuit was very dusty and slippery.



Rizla Suzuki MotoGP has one more practice session tomorrow morning followed by an hour-long qualifying period in the afternoon. Sunday’s race is round three of the MotoGP World Championship and the lights will change to go for the 22-lap race at 15.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

John Hopkins:

“I’m pretty pleased with how this afternoon’s gone. I didn’t get a lot of practice this morning as the track was too wet and really dirty. We got some good laps towards the end of the last session and we have found some things we can work on tonight that should smooth a couple of areas out. The weather for tomorrow looks like it’s going to be good and we are really looking forward to the weekend. Bridgestone has brought us some new tyres to try here and they seem to be pretty good for both performance and durability. We’ll now have to go out tomorrow, get our heads down, and qualify well!”

Chris Vermeulen:

“I was looking forward to coming back here after last year’s performance when I got my first pole and top 10 finish. We got here this morning and it was a bit wet so we lost a lot of the session to that. When it dried out it was very slippery and dirty so we really couldn’t get a lot done, but this afternoon we had a bit more of an idea which way to go. This is the first time here on the 800 so everything was really starting from scratch; I felt comfortable this afternoon and only used one set of tyres. I set my quickest lap on the 23rd lap, which is further than race distance, and the tyres were still working well. Maybe tomorrow we can go out with a softer, grippier tyre and go a bit quicker!”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“There had been a lot of discussion regarding tyres before we came to Istanbul, given that no teams had run one of the new 800s here. It seems like Bridgestone has got its sums right based on initial performance and the onward progression seems to be continuing in very much the right direction.

“John has had a strong day and has identified some key areas that can be significantly improved on for tomorrow. Chris set his best lap on a 23-lap old tyre and he too has a number of things to work on during Saturday.

“The new 800cc GSV-R appears to be a really nice package around the Istanbul circuit and we will be hoping to achieve the maximum out of it over the course of the weekend.”

Grand Prix of Turkey Free Practice Classification:

1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1’54.200: 2. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) +0.779: 3. JOHN HOPKINS (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.862: 4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 0.920: 5. Toni Elias (Honda) 0.958: 7. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.507:



Speak Your Mind