MotoGP: Chris Vermeulen desperate to solve qualifying weakness

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Chris Vermeulen has vowed to drastically improve his qualifying performance in 2008 as problems on soft tyres seriously undermine his bid to challenge for more victories.

Vermeulen gave himself a mountain to climb in several races last season, qualifying off the front two rows to scupper his hopes of fighting for wins and podiums.

The factory Suzuki rider has often had the pace on race tyres to match the front-runners, but starting too far back he has been unable to fight his way back through the field into contention.

The former World Supersport champion told MCN: “My qualifying really hurts me in the race and I know that is the biggest problem.

“I do long runs on the tyres and have the pace for the race, but qualifying really hurts me sometimes.

“I know it’s an area I have to work on with the team and Bridgestone. It sucks and I was really annoyed with my qualifying a few times.”

Asked what the specific problem with the qualifying tyres was during 2007, Chris Vermeulen added: “I didn’t have any more grip than a new race tyre.

“And having to go out and do it all in on single lap is harder than building up a rhythm.

“I can do it on a race tyre but going out with no more grip and do it in one lap I struggle.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt