Chris Vermuelen was disappointed to bid farewell to MotoGP on a sour note after a weekend of struggles in Valencia left him down in 15th position at the chequered flag.
The Australian was hoping to end his four-year tenure in the premier class on a high, but with the Rizla Suzuki proving off the pace compared to its rivals, Vermeulen qualified in last position and, save for retirements and errors, could only make up a single competitive place at the expense of Gabor Talmacsi.
Finishing the season 12th in the overall standings, despite scoring points in every race this season, Vermeulen this result wasn't the way he envisaged his MotoGP swansong.
“It has been a difficult weekend and the only positive I can take from it is that we definitely improved in the race from yesterday's qualifying and managed to pass a few guys out there today," Vermeulen said. "I was catching Loris towards the end of the race and I could see that he was struggling with a similar sort of situation as I was..
“Suzuki has got a lot of work to do to get this sorted, but I really hope they are able to do that, especially for all my crew who work so hard to get things right. I want thank everyone at Suzuki and in the team for what they have done in the last four years, we've had some good times – sadly today was not one of them.
A winner of one race and seven podiums over four seasons with Suzuki, Vermeulen will turn his attentions to World Superbikes having been signed up by Kawasaki to front its efforts in 2010.
“I hope the guys get a lot of work done in the winter and come out much stronger. I also want to wish good luck to Loris and Alvaro for 2010; I have enjoyed working with Loris and will miss the friendship and rivalry that we had together.”
Vermeulen was also praised by both team-mate and friend Loris Capirossi, as well as Rizla Suzuki manager Paul Denning.
“I also want to say I feel sorry for Chris that he had to finish with this result,” Capirossi said. “I have worked with him for two seasons and he is a great team-mate and we have a good friendship. We work well together and we check data all the time to try to improve the bike, so for me this is not a nice day.
“After two seasons it will be difficult to look over and see a different guy in my box, but this is the way life goes and I want to say good luck and welcome to Alvaro and hope we can work together as well as Chris and I have done.”
“Chris has also been a huge asset to Suzuki for four years and we all wish him well as he takes a new direction in his career,” Denning added. “He has always been the consummate professional – both on and off the track – and we wish him and his family well. He'll always be welcome whenever he comes to visit.”