Chris Vermeulen powered his way to his best dry qualifying position by bringing his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R home in second place during today’s session at a blisteringly hot Donington.

Vermeulen (1’28.158, 30 laps) improved consistently during the day and his lap times started to come down as he found more confidence from his bike and the Bridgestone tyres. The rookie Australian had previously struggled to get the best from himself but a study of the data with his crew pointed out a number of things that he was able to change with great effect. His time was only bettered by Dani Pedrosa on his factory Honda.

Anglo-American John Hopkins (1’28.252, 30 laps) also looked set for a front row start but just missed out on a top three place by 0.047 seconds. Hopkins suffered a high speed crash in this morning’s session, but he was able to walk away from the accident and get back to the pits and out on his spare bike.

Today’s sessions were held in very hot and dry conditions with air temperatures hitting 29°C and track surfaces reaching 47°C. Tomorrow’s race will get underway at 13.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) and both Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers will be aiming for glory on British soil.

Chris Vermeulen:

“I’m very happy with today’s result and being on the front row of the grid. All the guys have worked really hard this week and all credit to all of them. The Bridgestone qualifier worked excellent and it gave me fantastic grip for the lap. Tomorrow’s race is 30 laps long and that is going to be hard work around here. As I said before the last time I was here was on a 600 and it’s a lot different trying to muscle one of these bikes around, especially in this heat. The thing tomorrow is going to be trying to make a tyre last and be competitive for the whole race distance – that will be the tricky bit! We have given ourselves the best chance by getting a front row start, so hopefully I can get away well and stay with the lead group.”

John Hopkins:

“I’m a bit frustrated with myself really! I feel that I could have got another front row start, if not pole position. I feel in myself that I was riding a little timid after this morning’s crash. At the end of the day though we are starting fourth and we have got a good set-up for tomorrow with the bike and the tyres. I think we are ready to go racing in this heat. Cheers to my team, they have done an excellent job this weekend. Well done to Chris, it’s good to see him starting up on the front row. We’re really looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully both of the Rizla Suzukis and Bridgestone tyres will have a good race.”



Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“Yet again both the Rizla Suzuki riders have demonstrated their commitment by riding their machines to the limit today. Chris has struggled a bit with coming to terms with this track so seeing him pushing that hard in qualifying is particularly pleasing and I am sure that will give him added confidence for tomorrow’s race. John is a bit disappointed with fourth, but putting things into context he shouldn’t be because he has given himself a great opportunity at the start of the race to get away with the front group.

“In terms of the ability of our tyre and bike package for race day it’s difficult to know what pace we can run over the full 30 laps. But irrespective of that both the guys have given themselves the best opportunity and all we can ask them to do tomorrow is to get the maximum out of themselves and their machines and I have no doubt they will do just that!”

GAS British Grand Prix Qualifying Practice Classification:

1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’27.676: 2. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.482: 3. Marco Melandri (Honda) +0.529: 4. JOHN HOPKINS (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.576:


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