Kel Edge, Andy Rixon
Find it Fast! Bikes Babes
Training for Roadracing
The four discuss how the new brand of MotoGP stars are making their own fitness as important as the performance of the bike when rider and machine take to the track!
In the high paced, high energy and extremely high cost world of MotoGP Racing, it’s the small things that can sometimes make the biggest difference.
The days of riders just being able to show up and hop-on are long gone. The men that straddle these 800cc powerhouses are highly trained and extremely fit athletes.
18 rounds of gruelling racing in 15 countries, on four continents take a massive toll on the body. A MotoGP racer needs to be at peak physical condition for all the racing and testing as well as the intense travelling to and from events.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen is the perfect example of the new wave of stars that are gracing race tracks around the world.
The young Australian has ridden bikes for his entire life and fitness has always been a big part of his make up, “You know the level we ride at takes a lot out of your body, you’d be foolish to think you could ride these things and be competitive, if you’ve cut any corners and are not at your peak physically you’ll soon be found out.” Chris added.
Testing the bikes is an important part of improving the riders’ performance, but the twenty four year old puts his body under the microscope as well.
Vermeulen has recently been wired to Garmin’s new Forerunner 305. Primarily for runners, the GPS enabled heart rate trainer delivered some interesting figures.
Dean Miller is Suzuki’s Team Physio and he knows from 30 years of experience in the industry just how important devices like the Forerunner can be. “We’re looking at matching the technology of the rider with the technology of the equipment. A lot of what happens to make these bikes quick doesn’t happen on the race track it occurs in labs and it’s the same with the modern day athlete.”
Miller added, “To be able to have a global instrument pattern to that heart rate is important for us and for him, in perspective of timing when he goes to train; he has a better direct goal of what he needs to do to be at his best.”
The man who’s been responsible for Chris’s fitness for his entire career, Rob Crick, was a keen observer when the data was downloaded. “His heart rate was higher then what we thought it might be, but it confirmed for us that the training we do with Chris is on track. We do a lot of interval work, so he trains constantly in a higher heart rate zone. We push him hard to 190bpm, but 160 to 180 are what we try to maintain.”
Taking a rider’s heart rate is nothing new. It’s the software and amount of information the new technology delivers that’s interesting.
As Dean Miller said, “The riders analyse the data off their machines, now they are able to see and identify what’s going on with their own bodies.”
“It’s funny that my heart rate peaks in the twisty sections of the circuits. I am able to start recovering in the straights when we are doing speeds up to and in excess of 300kms an hour. So at top speed my body is having a rest, that’s incredible.” Vermeulen said.
Crick added, “The software is great, we can pinpoint where his heart rate rises and falls on a map of the race track. We found out it’s not so much the speed of the bike but the physical nature of the race track which has the biggest bearing.”
The data proved a rider’s body goes through an amazing workout every time he suits up. Chris’s heart rate hit a top mark of 179bpm, but was constantly over 160. Put that into the context of a race that lasts, 40 to 45 minutes, it’s an enormous amount of stress on the body.
“The thing is you are working hard physically but also making split second decisions at extremely high speed. Garmin might be able to design something to help me out on the brain side of things!” Chris joked.
The GPS heart rate monitor was also able to give Chris a speed read out, distance covered, terrain and a course layout. One thing measured in the software, that Suzuki doesn’t record, is the gradient levels.
An animated Vermeulen said. “I really found it quiet enthralling to go and download my information, whilst the mechanics were doing the same to the bike. Seriously though, I look for every edge. It confirmed the sort of training I do is working.”
The high speed arena Chris works in is light years away from the world of runners, but the “Forerunner” performed extremely well.
Miller said, “These are the finest motorcycle riders and bikes in the world bar none, so the best are riding the best, when you get to this level the separation can come down to 10’ths and 100’ths of a second , each year the cutting edge becomes much, much sharper. We say about footballers, what an athlete, and wow look at him move. At the same time try and do that with a varied centre of gravity in relationship to the machine, travelling at 300kms an hour , then slow it down and flick it into another corner and then change that centre of gravity almost instantaneously. I think they rate right amongst the top athletes in the world.”
So next time you sit down to watch a MotoGP race, keep an eye out for Chris Vermeulen. You’ll know the amount of effort that’s gone into getting the bike and rider to the peak of their performance!
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MotoGP World Championship, Istanbul, Round 3 of 18
Stoner Trumps with another Ducati Win and the Points Lead
Stoner swept into the lead at the end of the first lap and no one could get close enough to challenge him after that, the Australian extending his advantage throughout to win by 6.2 seconds. Capirossi had a less lonely race, running second behind Stoner early on, then battling back and forth with a group of riders. He lost third place to fellow Ducati GP7 rider Alex Barros exiting Turn 11 on the last lap but fought back into the final chicane to take his first podium of 2007.
Three Ducatis in the top four made this the best-ever MotoGP race for the legendary Italian marque. Bridgestone also enjoyed its best MotoGP result, monopolising the top six places.
Yamaha's 1-2 Punch for Pole at Istanbul MotoGP
Dani Pedrosa will round off the front row for the race, having not quite been able to push for pole as he got caught in traffic with John Hopkins, himself on a flying final lap. The Honda rider pushed his 800cc to go faster than both factory Ducati bikes, Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi biting at his heels after having placed highly in the free practice sessions.
World Champion Nicky Hayden dug deep for a top six start alongside the red machines, still getting to grips with the new parts brought in for the Honda RC212V. The American has a crucial race ahead of him after a tough start to the season, and qualified ahead of countryman Hopkins, Kawasaki’s Randy de Puniet, Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen and Gresini man Toni Elias, all four on Bridgestone tyres.
Valentino Rossi, Position 1st - "I'm very happy to have a pole position at this track, which has never been one of my favourites! I've had some bad moments here in the past but this year it feels like a different track for me and I'm having great fun! My M1 is very competitive, a lot more fun to ride here than in the past and the new modifications we have for our engine have made an important difference to our overall performance. The team has done a great job because we had some problems yesterday but they've found some good solutions and now Colin and I are first and second. My tyres are working well and we've found the right front for tomorrow. We need to make a final decision about the rear in the morning. With the qualifying tyre my bike really flew and I was able to do a very good lap; I started my first lap a few minutes earlier than the others and then I knew that I could improve a little bit more with the second qualifying tyre. Anyway all three of us are very close on the front row so I think it's going to be a tight battle tomorrow. Let's hope for good weather and see what happens."
Stoner (65) takes over the race lead from polesitters Rossi (46) and Edwards (behind) .
Casey Stoner leads Ducati's 1-3 punch for the Championship Lead
High hopes for Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards went unfulfilled today as the Fiat Yamaha Team riders, who started from first and second on the grid, were both victims of bad luck at Istanbul Park. The pair got a good start and were leading the pack into turn one before Edwards dropped back as he was unable to get enough heat into his tyre and Rossi made a mistake and ran wide at turn eleven. Disaster then struck for Edwards as he was hit from behind by another rider and sent tumbling into the gravel trap in a crash that involved four riders in total. Rossi meanwhile seemed to be going well and had fought back to second behind eventual winner Casey Stoner, before he suffered a serious rear tyre problem that forced him to roll off the gas and drop right back through the field. The Italian had to use all his talents to keep himself in the race and he eventually brought his Yamaha home in tenth position, taking what were a creditable six points under the circumstances.
Rossi now drops to second place in the championship standings, ten points behind Stoner and 15 ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who was also involved in the first-lap crash. Edwards' unlucky non-finish, only the second in his Yamaha career, means he drops down to sixth. The Fiat Yamaha Team have a one-day test planned tomorrow although Edwards will wait until the morning to confirm if he will ride after badly bruising his knee when he was knocked down.
The Ducati rider was almost gifted the lead early on, when his and team-mate Capirossi’s pressure forced poleman Rossi to run along the grass at the end of the first lap. Seconds later, the major talking point of the day occurred, as Dani Pedrosa and Olivier Jacque collided, turning the Frenchman’s Kawasaki into something of bowling ball, taking out Colin Edwards on the Fiat Yamaha. Also caught up in the incident were Chris Vermeulen and Sylvain Guintoli; the former picking up his bike after being hit by Pedrosa, the latter having to ride all the way round the debris on the run-off section.
Toni Elias in second place was unable to trouble the flying Stoner, but had plenty of his own pursuers nipping at his heels. The Spaniard had started fantastically from tenth, and was battling hard with Rossi in fearless fashion leading to a near-miss between the two riders. The move put Elias in second, where he stayed until the chequered flag, and Rossi right back into the thick of the chasing pack, where he further dropped down before finishing a lowly tenth.
Capirossi completed the podium, holding off a flu-ridden Alex Barros on the line. The two veterans exchanged places on consecutive corners, and with a few extra metres on the final straight the Brazilian may have taken Pramac d’Antin Ducati’s first ever podium.
Marco Melandri threatened a repeat of 2006 as he looked to make it a hat trick of victories in Turkey, but couldn’t make his challenge stick with the top four breaking away. World Champion Nicky Hayden was pipped on the line by John Hopkins after holding firm throughout the race. Hayden was seventh ahead of Randy de Puniet, Alex Hofmann and Rossi.
Elias, Stoner and Capirossi on the podium at Istanbul.
Casey Stoner, race winner, World Championship leader on 61 points - "We had a great race, unfortunately some of the other riders didn't have such a good race. Really, with the way the Ducati and the Bridgestones were today we couldn't do anything wrong. I got past Colin (Edwards) on the first lap because I wanted to make sure I didn't get held up and bumped back like in Jerez. Then Valentino ran off the track, pretty much gifting me first position. From there we put some good laps together, built a gap and continued from there because some of the other riders were having a battle. I don't want to sound confident, but at first I was pushing hard to get a gap, then after it got to 2.53 seconds I tried to slow the pace, just to make sure everything was safe, and the lap times actually dropped from trying to go a bit slower. The Bridgestone tyres were absolutely perfect, in fact the whole package was just perfect. I have to thank a lot of people, all the team and everybody who's contributed to my career, including Anthony Peadon (Australian former international sprint cyclist) for training me over the last few weeks. We are really determined this year, we're not expecting much, we're just doing the best job we can. With Ducati and Marlboro and everybody together I think we can do a really good job and I think and I hope that we can get stronger as the season goes on."
Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 2nd. - "It was like a 125 race with some unbelievable passes. I concentrated on getting a perfect start and made as many passes as I could on the opening laps but I got stuck behind Hopkins for too long. Once I got past him my pace was good and I was also able to take Rossi. I couldn't challenge for the lead because Casey was so fast so I decided to focus on maintaining my position. I have to thank the team and Bridgestone for the faith they have shown in me. I feel mature and confident because I still think we can improve even more."
Loris Capirossi, 3rd place, 11th in World Championship on 20 points - "The whole weekend has been fantastic for me, I'm back! Twenty days ago I had the best moment of my life when our first kid was born, so now I'm enjoying riding again and I hope my championship starts here because we still have 15 races to go. Everything worked so good, I got a good start and tried to follow Casey but he was so strong and I preferred to go a little slower. I fought a lot, especially with Alex on the last lap. I lost the front in the fast right, my bike start shaking a lot and Alex overtook me, so I said ‘okay, I have only one opportunity to make the podium, to out-brake Alex at the chicane'. I want to say thank you very much to team, to everyone for keeping confidence in me after two difficult races."
Valentino Rossi, 10th +18.999 - "We are very disappointed today because we had high expectations for this race, but instead we had some unexpected problems with the tyre and it's been a disaster for us. Yesterday and this morning the same race tyre felt good but unfortunately today something happened to it after some laps and I couldn't fulfil the potential we had here. We don't know the reason yet for the problem but now Michelin are trying to understand what happened. I had a great start and was leading on the first lap, although I made a mistake at turn eleven when I ran wide and dropped to fifth. However at that stage my bike was working very well and I was able to fight back to second; I felt sure that I was going to have a good battle with Stoner!
Sadly though, after ten or eleven laps, the tyre started to lose all grip and I had to slow right down because I was quite scared. It felt like there was a big problem with the tyre and I had to go very carefully just to finish. We were very unlucky today, we started first and second but Colin crashed when he was hit and then I had this problem. I'm also quite unhappy with Elias today because I think he was quite dangerous - more than once he passed me on the inside and then altered his line. This is not a correct way to race. We're all quite sad tonight but we have many more races so we will look forward now to China."
Results MotoGP: (22 laps = 117.48 km)
Pole Position: Valentino ROSSI 1'52.795 170.433 Km/h
World Championship Positions:
250cc GP - Dovizioso Slows Lorenzo's Run Away
Starting from pole, Dovizioso took the holeshot to draw first blood in the showdown, leading in the early stages before intermittent turns by eventual third-placed rider Alvaro Bautista and reigning World Champion Lorenzo. In amongst all this, last year’s race winner Hiroshi Aoyama crashed out, and brother Shuhei and Aleix Espargaro both received ride-through penalties for jump starts.
On the final lap, Dovizioso and Lorenzo came into contact on the final section of Istanbul Park, with the Italian holding his ground and Bautista attempting to take advantage. He maintained the advantage on the final straight, and took his first victory of the year to round off a fantastic weekend.
Just off the podium once again, Alex de Angelis was unable to join in a battle which he would surely have relished. He came in ahead of 250cc rookies Thomas Luthi, Mika Kallio and Julian Simon, with the top ten completed by Hector Barbera, Marco Simoncelli and Fabrizio Lai.
GP 250cc: (20 laps = 106.8 km)
Pole Position: Andrea DOVIZIOSO 1'57.473 163.646 Km/h
World Championship Positions:
Mat Mladin in his old familiar place out front.
AMA Superbike Championship, Barber, Round 2 of 11
Mladin Doubles Down at Barber Superbike
Ben Spies Untouchable in Barber Superbike Qualifying
Ben actually posted multiple laps in the ‘24s, a feat no other riders accomplished during the session even once. His ’ Yoshimura Suzuki teammate, Mat Mladin, came closest to doing so, dipping into the low ‘25s while preparing for tomorrow’s race with a best time of 1:25.013. Tommy Hayden, the third factory Suzuki ace was right on Mladin’s heels with a late flier that stopped the clocks at 1:25.070.
No one outside of the Yoshimura tent managed to post a time within one-and-a-half seconds of the Spies’ provisional pole mark. Eric Bostrom was fourth overall on the Yamaha USA YZF R1 at 1:25.832, followed closely by American Honda’s Miguel DuHamel at 1:25.942. Jordan Suzuki’s Jake Holden was an impressive sixth best, with Yamaha runner Jason DiSalvo, second Honda man Jake Zemke, Holden’s teammate, Aaron Yates, and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking rounding out the top ten.
Mladin took control of the race early, ripping past his Yoshimura Suzuki teammate and holeshot artist Eric Bostrom to take the lead on the opening lap on the exit of Turn 5. While the Yamaha ace slowly slipped down the order, the dominating Suzuki-powered duo quickly dropped the field, opening up approximately a second of space between them and their pursuers on each successive lap.
Spies applied varying amounts of pressure over the course of the 28-lap contest, from showing Mladin a wheel on occasion in the early stages to appearing in danger of falling out of contention -- logging three straight laps (21-23) more than a half-second back -- and then finally turning the heat back on at the race’s conclusion where Spies’ tried in vain to find a way through.
Mladin suffered in traffic on a number of occasions, losing the precious tenths of padding he worked so hard to achieve. However, the scariest occurrence was an early run-in with a lapper where the Suzuki star narrowly avoided disaster, squeezing through the tightest of quarters as both men ducked up the inside of a corner. He displayed his trademark ice-cool demeanor each time, however, never getting frustrated or giving Spies an opening to take advantage of.
Mladin explained what happened on the close call, stating, “I don’t like to complain about lappers; they’re all out there trying to race as fast as they can. But that guy got the blue flag about half a lap before he looked over his shoulder. And when he looked over his shoulder I was already coming up in the inside and he decided he wanted to go to the inside after he looked over his shoulder. And again he was just going there, it’s not like he moved there or anything on me. By the time he moved there and it was all happening he was already committed. All I could do was let the brake off and just touch the gas a little bit just to get through and past him. Other than that it wasn’t too big a deal. Yeah, it was a bit close but today we survived that one.”
Mladin admitted that Spies’ challenge kept him occupied throughout. “You always have to be concerned, for sure. You know Ben was riding really good and I knew coming across start/finish most of those laps I had .2 or .3. -- at one stage I had .6 there. So all I had to do was go as quick as I could and keep it clean. We kept it really, really clean. Pushed as hard as I could on the last lap. Didn’t make any mistakes, didn’t run wide anywhere.
Speaking about his failed attempt to steal away the win at the end, Spies said, “I gave everything I had. He had some really good strong points and it was good to follow that and see that for tomorrow and what we need to improve on. His strong points were really where you need to get the pass done and that’s what was making it really tough.
Spies was visibly weaker exiting the hairpin Turn 5, a vital corner and a favored spot for overtaking. “That was pretty much the case every lap. I did everything I could and when you’re giving up big time on drives out of the corner it makes it really hard to stay there. We didn’t quite have the grip we wanted for whatever reason and that could be my fault. We just need to try to get a better set-up tomorrow and get some better grip because that’s where we were really losing the time. It’s hard to make both ends work on the bike and we know what we need to do to fix it and hopefully we can.”
The race for third was almost as entertaining as the struggle for the win. A huge pack battle whittled down to a dogfight waged by Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates, third Yosh runner Tommy Hayden, and American Honda teammates Miguel DuHamel and Jake Zemke.
Zemke dropped off the chase late, leaving DuHamel to slug it out with the Suzuki-mounted riders. The Canadian worked past the Georgian with just over one remaining to take over third and held off the counter-attack to claim his second podium finish of the 2007 season.
Yates and Hayden finished closely behind to round out the top five, while Zemke brought his CBR1000RR home in sixth. Jamie Hacking came out on top of a third pack of factory riders, eventually breaking free of Yamaha USA teammates Eric Bostrom and Jason DiSalvo to claim seventh, his first Superbike finish for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team.
Lucca Scassa on the Fast By Ferracci MV Agusta helps add a little interest to the AMA Superbike proceedings.
Saturday Superbike Results:
RACE TIME: 39:53.255 min.
The Mladin, Spies and DuHamel's Sunday Superbike Repeat
By the time the race was 5 laps down Miguel DuHamel had moved the American Honda CBR1000RR into 3rd, and Aaron Yates had his Jordan Suzuki past Eric Bostrom. The only drama for the remaining 17 laps was to see whether Yates could close the short gap to Tommy Hayden ahot 50 feet in front of him, but Aaron never could.
Yates had said earlier, he enjoyed the opportunity of being the Number One rider on the Jordan team and not having to compete for attention and parts as he had to the last 2 years at Yoshimura. But it was also known the team had just gotten their new box stock model 2007 Suzuki GSXR1000Rs just 3 weeks before Barber, and had to build their new Superbikes from scratch without testing, factory parts or setup help. So being Number One on a private team without worksks parts might not be all its id to be. Still to his credit, Yates was beating a lot of factory riders from Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda.
Up front, Mladin had checked out on teammate Spies with Aaron attacking the Barber track with controled vengence, power sliding through the high speed corners while leaving black streaks on the asphault, building up a 2.4 second lead at mid-race, then dialing the pace back down to maintain his secure lead to the finish. Sunday's race pace for the front runners was about a second a lap quicker than on Saturday, in part to a little warmer weather, the faxt many riders had swtched from hard to medium hard compound tires, and then track itself had enough rubber laid down that it was super sticky.
"It was a good weekend for us," said Mladin. "We tested here about a month ago. We have a good motorbike with the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and we ran a good pace with consistent laps. So coming into this race, we knew what we had and it was just a matter of keeping it clean for all 28 laps. The Suzuki worked well throughout the whole race and we just did what we had to do to bring it home with a win."
Early in the race, Spies slotted in behind Mladin in second position. He pushed hard but was unable to overtake his team mate, with the result being a strong second-place finish. Although he didn't win the race, Spies' impressive ride helped him maintain his lead in the AMA Superbike points chase.
"I just couldn't get into a rhythm today," said Spies. "And I made a bunch of little mistakes that added up. It was all me. I wish we could have been there for the win but we just couldn't do it today. The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 was working good and was actually working better at the end of the race. We kept going faster and faster. We didn't win the race but we didn't get outright smoked either. Hopefully we can come back strong for Fontana."
Meanwhile, after initially leading the race, Tommy Hayden settled into fifth position and was turning consistent laps. With less than 10 laps to go, however, he made a pass for fourth position and held on to the finish.
With the end of racing on Sunday evening all the teams would be packing up their transporters and heading out overnight for the 3-day drive to California Speedway and the 3rd round of AMA National Championship this next weekend. Somewhere in between then the bikes would need to be rebuilt by the coming Friday's practice..
Sunday Superbike Results:
RACE TIME: 40:03.204 min.
Josh in the office, racing for Erion on the bike American Honda was too embarrassed to keep winning on in a very lightly contested class. Hopefully for next year the 600c Xtreme class will adopt SBK 600cc Supersport Rues and all the factory teams will be in this class, leaving the 600cc Superstock class to privateers, or we can so dream....
The race’s early stages promised a more competitive affair, as the Attack Kawasaki duo of Steve Rapp and Ben Attard followed tightly on Hayes’ CBR600RR’s rear wheel over the race’s opening lap-and-a-half. However, Aussie Attard highsided out of second, forcing Rapp (and Hayes’ teammate Aaron Gobert) to slow and take evasive reaction in order to avoid hitting the sliding rider.
Hayes took maximum advantage of the situation, putting his head down and further increasing the gap with nothing but clear track in front of him. “This is what I had planned for Daytona and it didn’t work out,” Hayes remarked. “When we went home and sat down and tried to figure out what we’re going to do, we said, ‘hey, you know what? We’re the champs. We want to get every point every weekend. We want to lead every practice.’ We want to just do the work and that’s what we came here to do. We worked really hard."
Daytona winner Rapp held on to second until the very final moments of the race while Gobert made a dogged pursuit. The Aussie had to endure a second near miss when Celtic Racing’s Chaz Davies crashed awkwardly in front of him, but he bounced back to close in on Rapp on the final lap.
Taking advantage of a lapper, Gobert zigged where Rapp zagged and came out the other side in the runner-up spot less than a half a lap from the checkered flag. He held off Rapp’s counterpunch and gave the Erion Honda squad a 1-2 response the Attack team’s Daytona success.
Gobert said, “It’s really tough here to get a good break with the lapped riders and passing is also difficult. I got the same thing as Steve -- I got stuck in the chicane, changing directions with a lapped rider two laps earlier. I actually saw Steve catching the guy and I thought, ‘this is exactly how I did it so when he gets caught up, I’ll get a run on him.’ But he slowed down and timed it and well and I was like, ‘I’m not going to get it right and Steve and I are just going to go together.’
Marty Craggill came out on top of a four rider Honda/Ducati tilt for fourth, claiming the position on his Boulder Motorsports Ducati 749R. He was followed by Rockwall Honda’s Ryan Andrews, Ducati-backed Larry Pegram, and Andrew’s teammate Ryan Elleby. Team Hunter’s Cory West finished eighth, followed by Canadian legend Steve Crevier and David Anthony.
Hayes’ win tightens up the early points race with Rapp still leading at 66, but only three points up on the reigning champ.