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Vermeulen fourth on first day of final test

Vermeulen fourth on first day of final test

Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen continued with his strong run of pre-season form during the first day of the Official MotoGP Test at Jerez in Spain.

Most of the morning was lost to a heavy downpour, but as soon as the track began to dry Vermeulen put in consistently quick laps to move up the leader-board. He posted a fastest time of 1'40.572 during his 70 laps, and using the information gained from the two previous tests this year he recorded a time over half-of-a-second quicker than his fastest lap during last year's Grand Prix at Jerez.

Loris Capirossi also had a good day as he recorded the sixth fastest time from his 64 laps. He too benefitted from the improvements to the ever-evolving GSV-R, as he posted a time of 1'40.650. The Suzuki Factory has made a number of changes to the 2009 Suzuki GSV-R for the final test, which again seemed to suit both Capirossi and Vermeulen over the 4,423m long Spanish circuit.

Today also saw the first view of the 2009 Suzuki GSV-R prototype MotoGP machine in the now familiar Rizla Blue. The latest incarnation of Suzuki's premier racing machine broke cover during an early morning presentation to waiting journalists, with Vermeulen and Capirossi on-hand in their new leathers to pose for photographs.

Tomorrow will see the final day of testing in readiness for the new season and the added attraction of a 45-minute televised timed session in the afternoon will give all riders some competitive action, as they battle it out to win a brand-new car for the fastest time.

Chris Vermeulen:
"It's been good to come back to a track like Jerez because it is very different to Malaysia and Qatar where we have already tested this year. We didn't come to the test here last year - like the other teams did - and for us to get mostly a dry day today was very important and it has proved that the new bike has definitely taken a step forward at all kinds of circuits. We've have been consistently fast more than we were last year and the bike feels a lot easier to ride. We had a good day today and tried a lot of parts and found a good base setting for this track. We still have a bit of work to do to catch the front guys - who did some very fast times today. My guys will look at today's data and hopefully make the necessary improvements to make sure I can challenge for that new car in the afternoon!"

Loris Capirossi:
"It has been a positive day today and we spent a lot of time working on detailed settings. Stuart is a great Crew Chief and we tried so many things today to get the best feel, and I only used two sets of tyres all day to find the best settings for the bike on old tyres. We tried many things to find the best solution for tomorrow and I think that we are close and can concentrate just on lap-times tomorrow. I am happy with the progress and the bike is still as competitive as it was in the first test and we are pleased with where we are at the moment."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"Given that the weather was so bad when we arrived at the circuit this morning we have been very happy to have achieved as much work as we have and we are pleased to have run quite competitively with both riders. It has been a day of checking and confirming the changes and the developments that have been made at the other circuits, and whilst we weren't quite as quick as we were at Sepang at the end of January, the potential still looks very promising. The gap to the front three riders doesn't look so big on paper but at Jerez it's quite a lot to find. We will be looking to get the most out of the bike overnight so that the riders have the confidence to move their own performance levels to the maximum tomorrow."

MotoGP, 2009, Loris Capirossi, Chris Vermeulen, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP

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