US MotoGP: Chris Vermeulen rues early crash

1 of 1

Aussie Chris Vermeulen’s hopes of claiming a third successive podium finish in Laguna Seca were dealt an early blow today.

The factory Suzuki rider crashed his GSV-R machine after just eight minutes of opening practice, the former World Superbike runner-up walking away unhurt from the tumble at the second corner.

 Vermeulen eventually ended with a best time of 1.23.217 to finish eighth and he said: “I was really looking forward to coming back to Laguna as it is obviously a track I enjoy, but it wasn’t the start I wanted!

“On the fourth or fifth lap I was just starting to build up my pace and as I entered turn two I locked the front wheel and went down. Unfortunately the bike was on the outside of the circuit so I was unable to get it back for the rest of the session.

“I got back to the pits and went out on the other bike but it was set up very differently – geometry wise – and it didn’t quite work as well as we’d hoped around here.

“The main thing we did find today was that we are still struggling a lot with the front feeling of the bike, as it feels quite a bit different to last year. Bridgestone has brought a different front tyre this time to the one I used in 2008 and we’re trying to make that work better for us.

“Apart from that the bike feels quite good and it is accelerating quite well off the corners.” Vermeulen ended 1.236s off Valentino Rossi’s best pace while veteran Italian team-mate Loris Capirossi was struggling down in 12th.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt