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Suzuki struggle with conditions

Suzuki riders John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen both struggled to find a good set-up in today's variable weather at Philip Island

Rain in the morning with the track drying as the session finished, and a damp to drying afternoon session that then became damp again when rain fell once more left both Suzuki riders still left with a lot of work to do on set-up before Sunday.

Strong winds throughout the day further complicated their efforts to find what the bike needs to set good lap times, both riders hoping for better conditions in tomorrow morning's final free practice session.

Hopkins finished up just outside the top ten, his bike nowhere near what he feels will be a good set-up for the rest of the weekend's running.

"Well as far as today went the conditions were pretty horrible so it was a case of going out and trying to make the best of the situation! This morning was off and on with the wet then drying conditions and we didn't get a lot done in that session.

"This afternoon was similar, but we managed to get a little bit more work done. The wind was horrendous and trying to set-up the bike and find a good tyre was pretty difficult.

"We are nowhere near close to a good set-up and we still have a lot of work to do and we are already thinking about Saturday and seeing what the conditions will do. I think we will make a lot of changes tomorrow and work hard with Bridgestone to make the best solution for Sunday!"

Local rider Chris Vermeulen didn't find the going any easier despite his better knowledge of local weather conditions, 14th fastest. However, he felt more comfortable as the day went on and feels he is heading in the right direction with his bike's set-up.

"It was a difficult day for everybody with those weather conditions. It's typical Phillip Island where it can be raining, dry, windy and very warm all in a short space of time.

"It made it hard to get the bike set-up and get a good feeling, but my guys have done a great job and made things very comfortable for me. We have improved the bike with every dry bit of track time we've had and have a clear direction of which way to go.

"The wind has been the most difficult thing today and it seemed to affect me a lot out there, so we will need to work on improving things to counter that tomorrow."

Team manager Paul Denning managed to find a positive out of today's running: "The only good thing was how stunning Chris's one-off bike looked out on the track, now all we need to do is make it go another couple of seconds quicker and we'll be happy!"

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