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Suzuki pay tribute to Sheene in Australia through protege Vermeulen

Suzuki pay tribute to Sheene in Australia through protege Vermeulen

Unveiling their first one-off livery of the 2007 season, Rizla Suzuki will be presenting a very special retro GSV-R800 paint job for the GMC Australian Grand Prix next Sunday.

Unveiling their first one-off livery of the 2007 season, Rizla Suzuki will be presenting a very special retro GSV-R800 paint job for the GMC Australian Grand Prix next Sunday.

Chris Vermeulens ride for the weekend will be adorned with a pale blue and white pattern that emulates Barry Sheenes Suzuki XR-14 bike used by the MotoGP Legend in the mid seventies. In addition, the Australian will be kitted out in a replica of the Britons classic race suit and helmet.

The link between Vermeulen and Sheene is a long-running one, with the former two-time World Champion a key figure in the current MotoGP riders racing career. The late icon was pivotal in pushing Vermeulen to ride in Britain in the 25 year-olds formative years, and the Rizla Suzuki man pays tribute to Sheene through his use of the crossed 7 as part of his number 71. During the 1980s, Sheene relocated to Australia along with his wife Stephanie and son Freddie

This is a great honour for me to ride the latest generation of Suzuki GP bike in a colour scheme inspired by my hero, Barry Sheene, explains Vermeulen. Barry did a lot to make sure I became a success when I arrived in the UK and I miss him a lot. I rode one of his XR-14 Grand Prix bikes at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year and that was certainly a privilege, but to ride my bike in the same livery is just awesome. Thanks to Suzuki and the team for letting this happen, I just hope that we can do credit to it! concluded the Australian, who took his first MotoGP podium at Phillip Island last season.

Team Manager Paul Denning was happy to authorise the tribute to Sheene, and has his own fond memories of one of the sports great characters.

Towards the end of 1998, when I was running our fledgling Suzuki British Superbike team, my wife took a call at home and yelled that it was Barry Sheene on the line. Yeah, right, of course it is was my response but sure enough it was Barry himself telling me that I had to get this new Australian kid on our bike for 1999. We couldnt then, as our deals were done, but it was a great pleasure to shake Chriss hand to become a Suzuki Grand Prix rider just a few years later and Im sure that Barry would have approved. This one-off livery looks stunning and its a pleasure to be able to run it in Australia, Barrys second home.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GMC AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Chris Vermeulen

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