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Monday, May 21, 2007

Vermuelen wins!


I'm sure it came as some relief to Chris Vermuelen to win his first MotoGP race yesterday at Le Mans

As a second year rider, the pressure would be coming on mid-to-late season to get a podium or a win. Last year he achieved at Phillip Island (2nd) along with two pole positions that did not convert into wins.

So the hoodoo is broken. He went the right way at his press conference (as he so often does) by basically admitting he's very good in the rain but now wants a dry win.

For some reason the global press consider the rain win as something that does not cement you as a good rider. I think the opposite is true. As Darryl Beattie said "Take the horsepower out of it (ie when it rains) and Chris is The Man." Too true!

For the sport of motorcycling (especially in Australia) this could not come at a better time. Chris is one of Australia's most level headed, thoughtful and eloquent sports people at the moment. He will make a great ambassador for Australia and for MotoGP back into Australia. Sponsors: get aboard the V-train!

I've followed his career since '99 when he first raced in Oz Superbikes before the visionary that was Barry Sheene snagged him a British Superbike ride. I've also been fortunate enough to interview Chris on several occasions- the first being in his first (guest) MotoGP ride at Phillip Island on a Honda in 2005 when rode really well and showed he was not over-awed by the occasion.

I was a little skeptical when he first when to MotoGP with Suzuki. It seemed that another year in World Superbike would be best- he would have been favourite and a WSBK title would sit well next to his WSS title. That said, it also might have poisoned his technique- and there is no doubt that MotoGP (esp in the 800cc era) needs a different technique to WSBK and the failure of most WSBK riders in MotoGP is proof.

But Chris knew something that the rest of us jumped over. Honda have been poor to bad in the 800cc era, so waiting in WSBK (in '06) for a chance to ride a satellite 800cc Honda would have been a very bad move. Suzuki have shown a steady determination to succeed and I think this win will give them the confidence that they really can dice with the best. I think the belief has always been there, but now they have the proof as well.

So, huge congratulations Chris- now get that dry weather win!!

Sportal.com.au - Motorsport

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posted by thr at 1:08 pm

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