20 May 2007 | News
Antonello Caliendo, D-Club Member
Suzuki hadn’t claimed the highest step on the winners’ stand for years. The fast was finally broken by a certain Chris Vermeulen with a background in the international derived motorcycle racing, where he had already demonstrated his “hydroplaning” skills. The race began under a threatening sky, nothing unusual in this part of France. The riders took off from the slick and after a few laps the rain started coming down harder and harder. De Puniet and Guintoli were racing on home ground in fine form, but the slippery asphalt had no pity; they both fell and were followed by Checa. Between the 9th and 10th laps, the racers decided to head back to their boxes to change steeds and when they returned to the track the situation was as follows: Hopkins, Vermeulen, Melandri, Pedrosa, Rossi, Hayden, Stoner, Capirossi, Hofmann and Barros. Halfway through the race, the order was Vermeulen, Melandri and Rossi, who began slowly losing ground with little hope in sight, thanks also to his Michelin tires that appeared to fall short of rival Bridgestone. Nakano, Hayden, and even Barros heading towards the finish line all fell in the “sea” that the French track had become. The winners’ stand featured Vermeulen, Melandri and the by-now familiar Stoner, who keeps climbing higher. Notoriously absent from the top 3 were Pedrosa, Hofmann, Rossi, Hopkins and Capirossi. Warning to all sailors: batten down the hatches. A word to the wise ….is sufficient.
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