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Suzuki rue Motegi misfortune and praise Stoner

Suzuki rue Motegi misfortune and praise Stoner

Suzukis visit to Japanese soil was something of a disappointment after their recent good form, especially for home rider Kousuke Akiyoshi.

Suzukis visit to Japanese soil was something of a disappointment after their recent good form, especially for home rider Kousuke Akiyoshi. The wild card rider, making his second appearance in the MotoGP World Championship this season, had been on course for a top six position after a fantastic start and subsequent successful bike change, but suffered misfortune on the penultimate lap when his GSV-R800 broke down and forced his retirement.

I was having a good race and really enjoying myself, explained the Suzuki test rider. The bike and the tyres were working well and I thought I was going to get a good finish. But something happened to my bike and I had to stop. I am really disappointed because I would like to have given Suzuki a good result as a thank you for this weekend!

John Hopkins gained more ground on Dani Pedrosa in third place after another top ten finish, but he too was denied a higher placing after a series of small problems.

The race was all over the place with the drying track. I think I chose a bit too soft of a compound when we first went out and I was sliding around a lot and lost quite a bit of time, said Hopkins after the race. I came in and got the dry bike and set about working as hard as I could. I ran off the track once and we had a couple of little mechanical issues, but nothing too serious. We needed to salvage some points from today and we did that.

The worst problems, however, were reserved for Chris Vermeulen. Stalling at the start, the wet weather specialist had the elements against him as the track dried rapidly.

We had a problem at the start which certainly wasnt good, rued the Australian. The guys had to run on the track and start my bike for me. When I got going I felt alright, but the track was drying quickly and I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to come in and change bikes. It was difficult to gauge how quickly to go in those conditions and when I went out on slick tyres there was still a lot of water on the track so it was quite slippery! It was all about taking risks and trying to be quick in some places and smooth in others. We really struggled to get enough heat into the tyres and brakes in these conditions, but in the last few laps we got going. To come from nearly a minute behind on the first lap to 11th is ok, but it is not good enough. I have got to work on my qualifying and we need to fix the problem with the bike in time for the next race back home in Australia.

Both regular Suzuki riders, along with Team Manager Paul Denning, reserved their last comments on the race for new World Champion Casey Stoner.

I would like to say congratulations to Casey on winning the championship he certainly deserves it, said Hopkins.

Stoners countryman Vermeulen added to the tributes: Well done to Casey, its good to see an Aussie as champion; I just need to make sure its me next time!

Meanwhile, Denning stated: On behalf of Rizla Suzuki MotoGP I would like to say well done to Casey Stoner, Ducati and Bridgestone for a well deserved World Championship. Well be working overtime between now and the start of next season to make sure we are in a position to compete with them in 2008.

MotoGP, 2007, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Casey Stoner

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