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Suzuki determined after positive signs at Shanghai

Suzuki determined after positive signs at Shanghai

Suzuki determined after positive signs at Shanghai

American Team Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins had his best finish of the season to date at the Taobao Grand Prix of China today, having fought back from an off-track excursion to finish in seventh place.

Team-mate Kenny Roberts, on the other hand, was forced to retire whilst comfortably leading the race. Both racers led the first ever MotoGP race to be held at the futuristic Shanghai International Circuit, which was held in heavy rain throughout.

Hopkins was first to hit the front but was soon passed by Roberts, a position the former World Champion capitalised upon as he built a strong early lead. Disaster struck for the American when a mechanical problem caused him to retire, while Hopkins went on to set his best result of the season.

Hopkins led a MotoGP for the first time in his career on Sunday. Having found his rhythm in a solid fourth position, a big slide in heavy rain caused him to go into the gravel on lap seven, but Suzuki´s young star fought back from this mistake to finish seventh.

After the race the newly inspired American said, ´To be honest I´m pleased with the way I rode, but unfortunately I ran off and lost some places when I was up in fourth. I was comfortable on my Suzuki GSV-R but I pushed too hard and made the error.

´I was trying to make up more time on the riders in front of me - in a place that I knew I could do that - but just overshot and went into the gravel.

´This is my and Suzuki´s best result of the season - so far - and I led a MotoGP for the first time. Now that I´ve done that I really want to do it a lot more!´

Having started the race in excellent form, blazing ahead of everyone else and almost putting a second between himself and race winner Valentino Rossi, team-mate Kenny Roberts race ended in bitter frustration, in the knowledge that his downfall was due to mechanical problems with the bike.

´I don´t think there is much to say to make it any better. We easily let a first or second place slip today, said Roberts.

´I made a decent start and got to the front on the first lap. Rossi and I pulled away and I was quite comfortable until the bike broke. I was nearly a second up on Rossi and a further five seconds up on the next group before the bike stopped and that was that.

´It would be nice to have some good luck as I´ve been struggling to find any in the last couple of races or even last couple of seasons. Maybe this is a sign that things will soon start to improve for me on that side.´

Team Manager Paul Denning had mixed emotions on a day that he witnessed both the Team´s riders lead a Grand Prix. He said: ´ It was great to see Kenny pulling away at the front of the field and being so aggressive - and yet so in control.

´Suzuki hasn´t had many opportunities to win a MotoGP recently and we definitely had one today.

´It was soul-destroying to see Kenny looking so strong only for the bike to suffer a mechanical problem. We´re sorry for ourselves but even sorrier for Kenny - he was on a mission and deserved so much more.

´John rode a great race and when he got into his rhythm he set some of the fastest laps. A podium was on the cards but he ran off track when the rain was at its heaviest and gone were his chances of his best ever finish.

´Having said that though, he fought back brilliantly and caught the group challenging for the podium but trouble with visibility at the end of the race hampered him from making any more passes.

´We still have a lot of improvements to make in all areas but today´s potential just goes to prove that Team Suzuki MotoGP is fighting hard in every department.´


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