For the second time in as many races, Rizla Suzuki left a grand prix feeling they had been unable to achieve anything like their true potential - with a best finish of seventh for Loris Capirossi in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

A frequent top three rider in winter testing, Capirossi began the race sixth on the grid - but got boxed in at the start and was relegated back to eleventh on the opening lap.

The triple Motegi race-winner reached seventh by lap six of 24, where he remained for his first points of the season after crashing out in Qatar.

"I am disappointed with seventh, because this is not our proper position as we have a better potential than that," said the Italian. "This winter we went very well because we had enough time at tests to work on the bike, but here this weekend we did one dry practice and everything else in the wet.

"We never found the best setting and we started the race with one we hadn't tried here. The bike was not too bad, but I never really found a good rhythm and feel from the tyres. I want to say that I am really sorry to all my team and everybody that has been working so hard this weekend. We need to go better than that and this weekend we just didn't perform well enough."

Team-mate Chris Vermeulen, seventh at Qatar, began the race from an impressive fourth position courtesy of his Friday practice time, and remained within striking distance of the podium until lap five - by which time his GSV-R had developed an electrical fault.

Vermeulen passed James Toseland for ninth on the final lap, but the gear-change issue meant he was unable to hold the position and missed out on the line by a little over a tenth-of-a-second.

"I'm really disappointed today, because I got a good start, the bike felt good and I thought a decent result would be possible," said the Australian. "From about the second or third lap I started to have a problem shifting gear heading into the turns and it made it difficult to stay consistent.

"I felt like I'd got it under control, but then the problem got worse from about lap six as I lost all shifting up and down without having to shut the throttle or use the clutch - so it was quite difficult!

"Other than that the bike worked really well and I felt like I could have challenged somewhere close to the front, but that's all ifs, buts and maybes and we now have to make sure what caused the problem today never happens again," he concluded.

Team manager Paul Denning said he was pleased to see Vermeulen 'angry' after the race.

"I was pleased to see that Chris was angry - as well as disappointed - at the end of the race, because he knows the potential was much better than today's result," he said. "He has performed well all weekend - in every condition - and deserved more today.

"We haven't got long to wait to put things right. Both the guys went well at Jerez earlier in the year and we're looking forward to getting back to work as soon as possible," Denning added.

The Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez takes place this weekend.


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