When you think of the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP squad, you might think of John Hopkins first and foremost. Hopkins is a great rider, who has experienced a good deal of bad luck. After a fourth place at the opening round of Qatar, Hopkins crashed during the Jerez race, and finished 19th. The good news is Hopkins did not further injure himself at Jerez (he was injured during a pre-series crash).
You might not think about Chris Vermeulen, but that may change. Vermeulen has had rather poor qualifying efforts in the first two rounds, but has been extremely impressive coming through the pack to finish respectably (in 7th at Qatar after starting 13th; and 9th at Jerez after starting 14th). To compound his poor qualifying, Vermeulen has typically lost a few spots in the opening laps — making his dash through the field all the more difficult, and impressive! He has passed some rather talented riders in the process (who isn’t talented in MotoGP these days?).
The point is that Suzuki has two fine riders this year, and a competitive machine with competitive tires (Bridgestone). If Vermeulen can sort out his qualifying and starts, he could be battling for podium positions as well as Hopkins.