MotoGP Sepang test: Aussie duo Chris Vermeulen and Ant West end Sepang test with crashes

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Chris Vermeulen and Anthony West had a painful end to the Sepang test session today when both crashed late on the final day in the same corner.

Factory Suzuki rider Vermeulen was the first to go down at the uphill right-hand Turn 10 with just under an hour remaining before the track closed.

Eight minutes later factory Kawasaki rider West crashed his ZX-RR in exactly the same place, though the cause was not related to oil or water left by Vermeulen’s earlier spill.

Vermeulen’s Suzuki GSV-R was extensively damaged though the French GP winner walked away with only minor cuts on his right hand.

West initially feared he’d broken his right arm, but escaped with muscle damage and heavy bruising as he left the circuit with a big ice pack on the arm.

Both crashed in identical circumstances and Vermeulen, who finished fifth fastest at the test with a best time of 2.02.447, said: “I don’t really know, we were just trying to go through it and it looked quite similar to the lap before data wise. I crashed very early in the corner. Just as I rolled off the throttle, started to shift down and roll off the brake. Loris (Capirossi) came to me and said ‘you crashed really early in the corner and there was a big black line’. “And then I heard Westy went down two laps later. I didn’t see anything on the track but it caught me by surprise. If there was something on the track I wouldn’t be surprised. But when you are trying hard you fall off sometimes don’t you?

West, who was ninth quickest overall with a best lap of 2.02.659 set on the final afternoon, said: “I don’t know what happened really because as soon as I touched the brake I lost the front. Every other time I’ve been through there I could feel the front. I wasn’t in the corner holding the brake on so I don’t really know. Every other time I have braked into there I have felt the front slide and picked it up no worries. I didn’t that time and went flying through the gravel.  When I was laying in the gravel my hand didn’t seem to be pointing the right way and I thought ‘shit it’s broken’ because it was really painful.”

Vermeulen’s best lap on Suzuki’s 2008 prototype GSV-R was 0.6s faster than his best lap in the Sepang GP last month, while West was 0.4s quicker than his best race lap.


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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt