SUGO, 27 May 2007- In a warm and windy day, Sugo’s Sportsland played host to the four heats of this sixth FIM Motocross Grand Prix of 2007. 24000 spectators gathered in the Japanese venue for the only Oriental appearance of the series, that was won by Billy Mackenzie in the MX1 class, and Christophe Pourcel in the MX2.
Kawasaki Racing Europe’s Billy Mackenzie won both the previous two MX2 editions here in Sugo, where he clinched his first MX1 victory today, becoming the only British rider to have ever won a MX1 GP. A very consistent Mike Brown of CAS Honda finally made the most of his two holeshots, and was second on the podium after he won the final moto. Yamaha Motocross’ Joshua Coppins completed the podium in third place, ahead of KTM Red Bull’s David Philippaerts. Steve Ramon of Suzuki ended the top five, ahead of Yoshitaka Atsuta, the fastest home rider.
MX1 GRAND PRIX RACE 1
Mike Brown took his ordinary holeshot, but Billy Mackenzie got rid of him by the end of the opening lap. Brown and Josh Coppins fought for second, giving Billy Mac the chance to fly away with the lead. Once Coppins passed Brown, the American was under attack by a determined David Philippaerts, who passed and got close to the Kiwi’s tail.
Coppins opened up a gap from Philippaerts, trying to save himself from a double KTM attack. Jonathan Barragan joined the group and passed team mate Philippaerts; he then gave chase to Coppins for second, and passed with two laps to go. Coppins brought the bike home with third, behind Barragan and winner Mackenzie.
Philippaerts rode to a consistent fourth, and four seconds later Brown made it to the chequered flag in fifth place.
Steve Ramon rode an impressive moto after he was hit at the start; being at the very bottom of the group, he rode a breathtaking heat to finish ninth.
MX1 GRAND PRIX RACE 2
Mike Brown stormed into the first corner, followed by Mackenzie and Coppins; the trio swapped places, with the Scottish taking the lead and starting an escape from the hungry rivals. Ken De Dycker reached Brown in lap two, to pass him and chase Mac for the win.
Dropping down -and then retiring- because of technical problems, De Dycker gave second back to Brown, who found himself at the lead of the race when Mackenzie crashed.
The first moto winner was quick to get back to the bike, and rejoined the race in second place, ahead of Coppins.
The Kiwi rode strong to another third place, behind Mackenzie and Brown —who won his first MX1 moto. Steve Ramon put in a good start, and climbed up to fourth place, ahead of Yoshitaka Atsuta.
Kevin Strijbos made it to the top ten, even if he crashed out in the early stages, as Jonathan Barragan scored no points. He crashed and was brought straight to the medical centre, but the his conditions were good.
It seems it is time to talk about the battle Cairoli-Pourcel again, as GPKR’s Christophe Pourcel won his first GP of the season today; Tony Cairoli of Yamaha De Carli came very close to his sixth consecutive strike, but finished second, ahead of KTM Red Bull’s Tommy Searle. His team mate Tyla Rattray was tied in points with Tommy, but finished fourth, as Molson Kawasaki’s Gareth Swanepoel completed the top five.
MX2 GRAND PRIX RACE 1
Christophe Pourcel was the quickest to enter turn one, followed by Tommy Searle, Tyla Rattray and Nicolas Aubin.
The defending Champion pulled away with the lead, as Tony Cairoli had to make up ground from sixth place. In the meantime Tyla Rattray moved past Searle and reduced the gap from leader Pourcel lap by lap.
The two rivals came together, and Rattray sneaked into an open door to earn the lead of the race. Pourcel took a couple of breaths and attacked the South African with success, but Tyla moved back quickly to the front.
Cairoli was pushing too hard and crashed; when he rejoined the race in third place, he decided to settle down for that position.
The win depended on the fight between Rattray and Pourcel, with the Frenchman moving up to the front and winning the moto.
Rattray was second, as his team mate Searle brought the bike home with fourth. Gareth Swanepoel completed the top five, ahead of Pascal Leuret.
MX2 GRAND PRIX RACE 2
This time Cairoli had the greatest start, but runner up Tyla Rattray was very close in the first couple of laps. The two rivals passed each other four times in one lap, before Cairoli grabbed the lead and run away with it.
Rattray kept Cairoli on his sights for a while, then crashed and handed second to Pourcel. The Frenchman was pacing himself to save the eventual second place, but crashed out and was forced to enter the pitlane to fix a damaged handle bar.
When he was back to the race, Tommy Searle and Gareth Swanepoel were second and third, both ahead of him. Pourcel did not give up the chase, and once he passed the South African, he put in six flying laps to catch Searle in the very last corners before the flag.
Pourcel earned his first GP victory of the season with second behind Cairoli; Searle finished third ahead of Swanepoel, while Tyla Rattray completed the top five.
Pascal Leuret was just outside, in sixth place, but he was involved in a first corner crash.
IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
Joshua Coppins is comfortably sat on the MX1 Championship lead, with 63 points more than runner up Kevin Strijbos, who had a bad day in Sugo and finished 11th overall. Steve Ramon is still third, but he is closing in on team mate Strijbos. Sebastien Pourcel and David Philippaerts round off the top five, as Ken De Dycker dropped down to sixth. Mike Brown entered the top ten, where he is now eighth, while GP winner Billy Mac is currently in eleventh place.
In the MX2 class Antonio Cairoli is keeping Christophe Pourcel behind in second, with a 64 point gap. Tyla Rattray is still third, but there are now ten points between him and the defending Champion. Tommy Searle passed Pascal Leuret for fourth, while the Frenchman dropped down to the bottom of the top five. Gareth Swanepoel jumped from eighth to sixth, ahead of Kenneth Gundersen and Nicolas Aubin.
CAIROLI AND YAMAHA AGREED TO THREE MORE YEARS TOGETHER
Antonio Cairoli and Yamaha announced today a new three year deal; Tony will stay in Claudio De Carli’s team for 2008, racing in the MX2 class of the FIM Motocross World Championship, then he will decide what to do in the remaining two years.
There is one free week now, to get over the jet-lag of this Japanese journey. The next round will be held in St. Jean D’Angely on June 10.
The Japanese Grand Prix will be broadcast delayed on: AMERICA ONE: second Tuesday after the GP MX2 Race2 and MX1 Race2, N/A (check http://www.americaone.com)
Information and results on www.motocrossMX1.com, the official website of the FIM Motocross World Championships.
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