Loris Capirossi was the only faller in Monday's Qatar MotoGP season opener, the Italian veteran sliding from fifth place in a shower of sparks just before mid-distance, as both Suzuki riders struggled for front-end feeling.
Capirossi had shot off the line to jump from fifth to second position behind eventual winner Casey Stoner, but was soon struggling with the handling of his GSV-R following Sunday's rain storm.
"I feel really sorry for the whole team, because all winter we have worked so hard and have gone quite well so this was hard to take,” said a dejected Capirossi. “It was really strange today because our practice has been good, but in this evening's warm-up I had a big problem with chatter, this hadn't happened all weekend and then during the race it was the same.
“The front tyre didn't work like normal either, I had done 25 to 30 laps on the same tyre with no problems and the feeling had always been good, but today after just five laps it felt like it was destroyed! This race is over now and we have to concentrate on the next one and find out why the things that happened today occurred,” he added.
Team-mate Chris Vermeulen suffered similar issues, but at least lasted the distance, although seventh position was below expectations after such a promising winter.
"The track conditions were a bit different to what it had been all weekend and it was very different to the test which was how I had the bike set-up, and to be honest I really struggled for front-end feeling,” he confirmed. “Towards the end of the race the rear tyre performance dropped off as well so that's something we've really got to work on.
“It was not the result we wanted because we were hoping to be in the top-five. We have got quite a bit of work to do to catch up to the podium so we need to put our thinking caps on and go to Motegi and have a better performance,” he added.
"Without doubt it was the right thing for MotoGP to stay on and race here at Qatar tonight, but unfortunately for Rizla Suzuki our bike worked quite differently than it had done all weekend for both riders,” said team manager Paul Denning. “We suffered from a serious lack of front grip and some bad vibration which restricted both the guys. Clearly some of our competitors were far less affected by the different conditions and the Team - and Factory - will be working very hard to understand the difference in performance between tonight and the rest of the weekend.”