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Chris Vermeulen talks about his first impressions of preseason

Chris Vermeulen talks about his first impressions of preseason

Chris Vermeulen talks about his first impressions of preseason

Chris Vermeulen will be one of the most important newcomers to MotoGP in the 2006 season. After a few days of rest in Australia, and with his sights already set on the imminent Sepang test that in little more than a week will mark the resumption of the preseason, the young Suzuki Rider has explained to his present state, his feelings and hopes for 2006.

What have you been up to since your last test with Suzuki at Sepang?

I have been in Australia enjoying the sun and the surf and training a lot, running, motocross, surfing and water skiing etc. I am also into my old cars and have been doing some cruising with the Hot Rod club.

Sepang was your first proper test with the GSV-R. How does it compare to the RC211V you rode at the Australian and Turkish GP?

The GSV-R from my first impression is a great bike, it was very easy to get on and be reasonably fast. The chassis, suspension and tyre combination work very well together, but it does not have as much power as the Honda. Suzuki know that their biggest problem lies with horsepower, so hopefully we can improve that this year.

For the uninitiated, the switch from WSBK to MotoGP may seem to be an obvious move due to the common engine capacity and 4-stroke cycle... What struck you the most when you first rode on a MotoGP machine, and how did it affect your riding style?

I think where the similarities end between a SBK and a MotoGP bike is that they have 2 wheels. There were a lot of things that struck me about my first rides on a GP bike, for instance weightwise a GP bike is lighter and smaller. The brakes, being carbon fibre, work very differently to normal steel brakes and the power and engine management control and what is adjustable with it is incredible, making it very hard to get it working right for yourself. I found that with my riding style on the GP bike I had to have a lot more finesse and be smoother.

Testing will resume in a couple of weeks in Malaysia. What kind of training have you been doing? Did you have to modify your training regime compared to previous pre-seasons?

I have always trained hard for motorcycle racing and my training has not changed this year. I do a lot of running, mountain biking, some gym work, motocross and surfing etc.

What do you expect to be the biggest difficulty in your rookie year? (learning the bike, the tracks, getting used to the race format, etc...?)

All of that is going to be hard! I thing that when I go to the races there will be 6 tracks that I don't know when I get there so that is not going to be easy, but the biggest thing I think will be getting used to a MotoGP machine and learning to use it to its full potential.

As a factory rider, you will now have a direct input on the development of the bike you will race. What do you expect from this new aspect of your 'job'?

I am very excited to have this opportunity to work directly with a factory like Suzuki. It is going to be a lot of work I believe but I have the chance to make the machine work around me. This is a point that Mick Doohan emphasized to me. This is my first year working directly with a factory.

And finally, what are your hopes for the 2006 season?

My hopes are to improve throughout the year and to be competitive with John [Hopkins] and hopefully our efforts - team, factory and riders - can make this a winning package.

MotoGP, 2006, Chris Vermeulen

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