Top 10 finish for Hopkins at Jerez

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    Top 10 finish for Hopkins at Jerez

    Rizla Suzuki MotoGP rider John Hopkins raced to a ninth place finish at today’s Gran Premio De Espana at Jerez in Spain.

    The aggressive Anglo-American racer would almost certainly have finished in a much higher position but two unlucky incidents hampered his quest for a top five finish. Hopkins had a fantastic start to the race and as the field roared into the first corner World champion Valentino Rossi was clipped by another rider, the resulting crash causing Hopkins to run off-line and lose valuable time as he narrowly avoided hitting Rossi.

    Hopkins fought his way back through the field and up to eighth place but was then hit by an attack of arm-pump and lost out on a higher position as he fought against the energy sapping pain.

    Chris Vermeulen was also held up by the first corner collision and only just avoided the incident. This relegated him down to 15th, but the rookie Australian showed that he is a true racer as he battled his way towards a top 10 place before finally finishing in 12th position and scoring good points on his Rizla Suzuki MotoGP debut.

    Today’s race was held in windy but sunny conditions with temperatures reaching a pleasant 22°c. It was watched by 131,162 fanatical Spanish fans. Loris Capirossi on the Bridgestone shod Ducati led the race from start to finish to win the first Grand Prix of the season.

    Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will now travel to Losail in Qatar for the second round of the MotoGP World Championship on Saturday 8th April.

    John Hopkins:

    “I wouldn’t say I’m exactly satisfied with my race. I got off to an unbelievable start and then got caught up in the mess on the first corner – I came within inches of running Rossi over but fortunately I missed him. I lost a lot of positions and had to ride a bit like a maniac to cut through the field. I made my way through and I was up with the top six when I started to get arm pump in my right arm. I’ve never had it before on a MotoGP bike and I don’t know where it came from. It ruined my race really because I am confident I could have got past the two riders in front of me – but that’s racing! We have just got to move on to the next race at Qatar and take the best bits from this weekend forward with us.”

    Chris Vermeulen:

    “I got a bad start and then got baulked by the crash. So I had to try and get through the field to get a better place. I think some of today may be a bit of inexperience and we really need to spend more time with the race tyres and set up. I have now got some points from the first round with a 12th place – which is not too bad really – and as long as we can keep improving I’ll be happy.”

    Paul Denning – Team Manager:

    “I felt before the race that if we could get one bike in the top 10 and the other in the points that it would be a good result at this circuit. The result itself is not good enough but we have to take some positive pointers from this weekend in terms of comparison to where we were 12 months ago at the same track. There are still some issues to resolve and Suzuki is focussed really hard on using this start point as a positive and refining the new Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to a point whereby we can take the next step.

    “John is bitterly disappointed because he felt that a top six finish was well within his grasp and Chris is also frustrated, but neither of them should be as I believe that both riders and their crews got the full potential out of the package available to them this weekend. I feel that we can certainly look forward to more positive things in the future.”

    Gran Premio De Espana Race Classification:

    1. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 45’57.733: 2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +4.375: 3. Nicky Hayden (Honda) +9.996: 4. Toni Elias (Honda) +10.135: 5. Marco Melandri (Honda) +19.547: 6. Casey Stoner (Honda) +21.237: 7. Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) +21.372: 8. Kenny Roberts Jr (KR211V) +32.414: 9. JOHN HOPKINS (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +32.659: 10. Makoto Tamada (Honda) +35.983: 12. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +39.514:

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