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Rizla Suzuki close to podium

Rizla Suzuki close to podium

Rizla Suzuki close to podium

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen looked set for his first MotoGP podium at today's Red Bull US Grand Prix from Laguna Seca, but the rookie Australian was robbed of glory by a mechanical issue. Vermeulen started from pole position and began superbly, leading the field for the first half of the race. Unfortunately a fuel supply system issue – possibly caused by the extreme heat at Laguna - made his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R lose power and he was overtaken by eventual winner and Championship leader Nicky Hayden. Although Vermeulen fought to preserve his podium position and looked certain to achieve that feat, his slowing bike was unable to keep pace with those around him and he eventually limped home in fifth place – his best finish of the season so far.

John Hopkins finished just behind his team-mate in sixth place. After getting baulked at the start, he battled hard in the scorching Californian sun and was able to make his way up the field, continuing with his run of top 10 finishes and enabling him to move up one place into ninth in the World Championship table. Rizla Suzuki MotoGP now has a three weekend break before re-grouping for round 12 of the MotoGP World Championship at Brno in the Czech Republic on Sunday 20th August. Chris Vermeulen:
"Everything went pretty well at the start, the bike was running well and we made – what I think – was the best tyre choice. Thanks to my whole team and Bridgestone for helping me today. But about 12 laps from the end the bike started cutting out, it was not running smoothly and it was hesitating on corner entry - this was making it so hard to ride. It got worse and worse and I only just brought it home. In fact three turns after the end of the race it stopped completely! I'm really disappointed that I didn't get a podium but I think we have proved how strong the Rizla Suzuki, Bridgestone tyres and the whole team were here this weekend, and hopefully we can continue this performance in the next few races."

John Hopkins:
"I gotta say I feel sorry for Chris. That really sucks for him because he rode an excellent race. I was trying everything I could and when I saw he was in first, if anything it motivated me even more. I got a bit boxed up at the start and had a hard time getting past Colin, and then made a bit of a mistake when Valentino passed me. Once the lead group had got away I just had to concentrate on my own race and try and put some good laps together. Thanks to Bridgestone, they have brought some good tyres that lasted the race in these blistering conditions – so well done to them. It's a shame one of the Rizla Suzukis wasn't on the podium, but we have got six more races and I am sure before the end of the season either one of us will be on there. Now we are going into the summer break and we will get our head together for Brno – that's one race I can't wait for!"

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, RED BULL U.S. GRAND PRIX

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