Suzuki confirm Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen for 2009
As was reported in Wednesday’s MCN, Vermeulen agreed terms with the Japanese factory last Saturday in Misano, while as expected, Capirossi has also extended his deal.
The Aussie is Suzuki’s most successful rider in the four-stroke era and he’s been Suzuki’s best performer since Kenny Roberts Junior won the 2000 world 500cc crown.
Vermeulen, who turned down an offer to join Fausto Gresini’s satellite Honda squad at the last minute, said: “I’m extremely happy to be staying with the Suzuki team, it is a factory and squad that I know well and respect enormously.
"Over the last three years there has been big progress with both the machine and with my level as a rider. Suzuki was my entry into Grand Prix racing, I have been here for three years and won a GP - and been on podium many times – so I am really pleased to be continuing this relationship.
"I had offers from other teams, but I always felt that I wanted to stay with Suzuki if we could get the terms agreed so that everyone was happy. Luckily we were able to do that, so now I can get on with trying to win more races and help Suzuki get to a World Championship challenging level.”
Capirossi agreed terms with Suzuki several weeks ago, but no announcement has been made while the formalitie of signing the paperwork were finalised.
Capirossi, who has one podium on the GSV-R in 2008, said: “I am delighted to be staying with Suzuki for another season. I have really enjoyed my short time here and know we are making progress and can be on top again.
"The management has shown faith in me - even though I have not been at my best due to my injuries - and now I must start to re-pay them for their belief in me and to committing to me a further season.
"I have enjoyed working with Paul and my whole crew has been fantastic all season, whatever I have asked for they have delivered and they are probably the hardest working guys in the paddock.
"I still have unfinished business in MotoGP and on the Suzuki, I still have podiums, pole positions and race wins in me and I believe that I can achieve that with this team. I want to finish my career with Suzuki and I want to do that in style!”
Rizla Suzuki team boss Paul Denning, who held talks with Andrea Dovizioso earlier this season, said he was delighted to have secured Capirossi and Vermeulen for next season.
“We are of course pleased to have finalised the rider agreements for 2009 and to move forward with Loris and Chris. Loris’s experience, knowledge and determination are a valuable asset to any team, but on top of that you get his incredible and infectious passion for racing - plus he’s a really nice guy as well! He settled in to the team very quickly and now it feels like he has been with us for a long time, not less than a year!
"He still has a great desire to be the best and Suzuki will be doing all it can over the forthcoming months and throughout 2009 to help him achieve that goal. His input in the development of the GSV-R has been a big factor this year and I am sure this contribution will help both Loris and Chris to see Suzuki fighting with the best riders in the 2009 World Championship.
"Chris has improved as the Suzuki GSV-R has improved, and has now become an integral part of the development process of the bike. He has been with the team for three years and has become Suzuki’s most successful four-stroke racer yet, as well as being an ultra-professional sportsman.
"I don’t think we have seen Chris’s true potential yet - the whole factory and the team are convinced the he can go on to bigger and better things with Suzuki, and we are delighted to have him with us again, “said Denning.