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First podium for Vermeulen and Rizla Suzuki at Phillip Island

First podium for Vermeulen and Rizla Suzuki at Phillip Island

First podium for Vermeulen and Rizla Suzuki at Phillip Island

Chris Vermeulen stormed to his first ever MotoGP podium at a rain affected GMC Australian Grand Prix from Phillip Island.

Vermeulen started from 16th place on the grid and by lap seven had moved up to 12th, when most riders chose to enter the pit-lane and change to their ‘wet' setting bikes as heavy rain started to fall.

The young Australian star raced past many riders on the pit-entry lap and re-joined the race in 7th place, and by the next lap was up to third. Then passed Sete Gibernau for second place and dug deep to hold his position for the remaining 10 laps. The race was watched by over 44,000 Australian fans who cheered Vermeulen all the way to the chequered flag behind eventual winner Marco Melandri.

`I'm obviously very happy to get my first MotoGP podium at my home Grand Prix! The support everyone gave me here at Phillip Island, and the bike the team gave me, was superb´, said Vermeulen.

.`We did no testing in the rain and used a brand new Bridgestone wet that we didn't have any experience of - in hindsight I probably would have chosen a harder tyre but we didn't know that at the time. I've got to give full credit to my team, when I came into the pits they were ready and everything went to plan. That's down to Tom, the organisation of the crew and everyone working with us. I've got a new track to learn next weekend but I'll be going all out to get another one of these at Motegi!´.

`Given the unseasonably good weather here at Phillip Island I joked that maybe we would get lucky and it would rain´, explains Paul Denning, Team Manager of Rizla Suzuki.

`I didn't imagine that would come true and we would see such an exciting race. The team has been long overdue a podium this season and Chris was awesome out there today- it makes up for the disappointment he suffered in Laguna and in his home country this must be a dream come true. Congratulations to him, and also to Tom and all his crew for giving him the bike to do the job on´.

`I'm disappointed for John after the fantastic work he had done in the early part of the race. He was the class of the field in the dry but just couldn't quite get the feel for the bike in the wet. Even so he has moved himself up to eighth in the Championship and brought the bike home safely. I am sure he will be full of confidence for one of his favourite tracks at Motegi next weekend. We were given a ‘Get out of jail card' today, and the team took full advantage!´. Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

MotoGP, 2006, GMC AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Chris Vermeulen

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