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Vermeulen swaps two wheels for four on home territory

Vermeulen swaps two wheels for four on home territory

Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen became the latest MotoGP star to enjoy some four wheel action during the winter break on Tuesday, as he took a ride in a Britek Motorsport prepared Ford Falcon V8 Supercar at Winton Motor Raceway in the Australian state of Victoria.

Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen became the latest MotoGP star to enjoy some four wheel action during the winter break on Tuesday, as he took a ride in a Britek Motorsport prepared Ford Falcon V8 Supercar at Winton Motor Raceway in the Australian state of Victoria.

At a track where he last raced in 1999 during the Australian Superbike Championship, the 25 year-old MotoGP star was a guest of the Britek Motorsport, Fujitsu and IRWIN Racing teams at the special event, just two days after the final round of the 2007 V8 Supercar Championship Series at Phillip Island.

Vermeulen himself was at ‘The Island' last week with new team-mate Loris Capirossi for a crucial post-season test visit onboard the 2008 Suzuki MotoGP prototype, but at Winton his companion was Supercar driver and Britek Motorsport Managing Director Jason Bright – who gave his fellow Aussie some inside information on handling the Ford Falcon.

After an overview of the Falcon from Bright, Vermeulen was in the passenger seat alongside his compatriot for some hot laps of the three-kilometre circuit and then took to the steering wheel himself for eight laps, before returning to the pits for further discussion with Bright and Chief Engineer Geoff Slater.

An excited Vermeulen then went back out onto the circuit for another eight laps, improving his speed to around 4.5s off the pace Bright had been setting throughout the day.

"Just incredible," was Vermeulen's reaction. "The only real thing I can compare with my Suzuki MotoGP bike is the fact that both machines are fast, but from there it's completely different."

"Braking is the biggest surprise. For something that's around nine-times heavier than what I race, the stopping performance is amazing. Power from the V8 race engine is also very impressive. I can see why these things are so popular with the drivers and fans alike."

"It was good to first get some laps beside Jason. When I then jumped-in, I took it easy and worked my way into it. I did have a spin and thought it best to come back and have a chat with guys. Jason gave me a few more tips and I was really surprised when he said go back out and really have a go!"

Returning to the more important theme of his MotoGP endeavours Vermeulen stated: "Having a drive of the car was fun, but my business is racing in the MotoGP World Championship and after last week's test I'm really excited about '08."

"I guess the experience of driving a V8 underlines the fact that you have to give it 100%. My total focus is on bikes and winning MotoGP races and also chasing a world title."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, Chris Vermeulen

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