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Suzuki's sweet and sour Dutch visit

Suzuki's sweet and sour Dutch visit

It was certainly a case of mixed fortunes for the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team this afternoon at the A-Style TT Assen, as John Hopkins secured his sixth top-five finish of the season while team-mate Chris Vermeulen was taken out of contention by Randy de Puniet after starting on pole.

It was certainly a case of mixed fortunes for the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team this afternoon at the A-Style TT Assen as John Hopkins secured his sixth top-five finish of the season while team-mate Chris Vermeulen was taken out of contention by Randy de Puniet after starting on pole.

Making a great start from sixth on the grid, Hopkins was running in second place early on but then began to encounter some vibration problems with his GSV-R800 bike and lost some valuable time to the chasing pack. The Anglo-American did his best to hold them off but was overtaken by eventual race winner Valentino Rossi and both Repsol Honda riders.

However, he held on for his third fifth place in four races and after his consistent first half of the year Hopkins is now a clear fourth in the World Championship classification - as he edges in front of unfortunate team-mate Vermeulen.

After the ninth race of the season Hopkins commented: "It was definitely a tough race out there today and I feel like I've been in a real battle! I really put my heart into that race and worked hard to get that result! I wanted to be on the podium real bad today and I so much wanted to catch Stoner at the start. I was trying so hard, but I was getting some real bad vibrations around some of the turns and was losing about half-a-second through a certain section of the circuit. This meant I had to work even harder throughout the rest of the lap, but I lost a bit of rhythm and Rossi and then both the Hondas got by me."

Meanwhile, Hopkins' Aussie colleague had a race that he will probably want to forget, having started from pole position for the first time in 2007 - after his brilliant wet weather qualifying performance yesterday. A mistake from Kawasaki's De Puniet on lap 12 saw Vermeulen pushed into the gravel as the Frenchman crashed into him and although the Suzuki man rejoined the race the damage prevented him from mounting a serious assault, as he finished just outside the points in 16th.

Vermeulen explained: "It was good to start from pole position, and we made big steps in this morning's warm-up. The bike worked the best it has done all weekend when we started the race. I was doing my quickest lap-times and I felt good on the bike. Unfortunately I didn't quite have the speed of the front guys, but I was pushing hard. Then all of a sudden I was hit from the rear and I ended up in the gravel. I didn't know the other rider was there and I certainly don't think there was room for him."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, A-STYLE TT ASSEN

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