THOR Race Report: MX GP Round 6, Sugo Japan

Leaving the European continent for the first time this season, the FIM Grand Prix Motocross teams jetted to Sugo, Japan for the sixth round the world championship.

THOR’S MX 1 title contender, Josh Coppins, qualified on pole (his second consecutive of the season) at the well prepared Sugo circuit situated near the city of Sendai.

Coppins struggled to find form in both moto’s but continued his string of podiums with a consistent 3-3 inevitably stretching his lead to a massive 63 points over Belgian’s Kevin Strijbos. Factory Yamaha team-mate Marc de Reuver was literally counted out as the effervescent Dutchman sustained a light concussion in a first moto crash. Scotsman Billy MacKenzie, won his first GP of the season on the factory Kawasaki.

In the MX2 class, THOR’S, Gareth Swanepoel posted a consistent 5-4 result which has shot the South African up two places in the MX2 championship. Frenchman, Christophe Pourcel, rode an astounding second moto, after winning the first, to break Antonio Cairoli’s string of successive GP victories.

The GP teams have a well deserved week break before trekking to sunny France and the former Des Nations circuit of St Jean d’Angely on the 9-10 June.

Josh Coppins:
“I was surprised I qualified on pole to be honest. I haven’t felt good on the bike all weekend and I think it showed in the race. I struggled to find good lines and my rhythm and had to make the best of bad day. It didn’t really go as I had hoped but I did my best. Of course I think about the championship all the time and trying to concentrate on race wins is not easy. On the other hand my consistency has built me a good lead in the championship,

Marc De Reuver:
“I was fifth at the start of the first heat but made a small mistake just before the finish line. I lost some time because I had to bash the bars and levers back into position. Billy Mackenzie lapped me and I ran behind him without any problem until the big crash over the table-top. The front wheel just washed out on the landing and I hit my head hard. I don’t even remember how I got back to the paddock and Michele and Carlo thought it was better that I don’t ride. It is a disappointing weekend but I am lucky that I only have a black eye.”

Gareth Swanepoel:
“I had two lonely races today. In the second moto I had a better start and ran with the guys up front for a little while but then lost touch and was off their pace. I didn’t feel comfortable this weekend but was happy to have two consistent races and to move up two places in the championship. The last few GP’s I’ve been up and down so I just want build some consistency and then aim at getting back onto the podium.

Race results:

MX2 Race 1

1 Pourcel, Christophe FRA Kawasaki
2 Rattray, Tyla RSA KTM
3 Cairoli, Antonio ITA Yamaha
4 Searle, Tommy GBR KTM
5 Swanepoel, Gareth RSA Kawasaki (THOR)
6 Leuret, Pascal FRA Honda
7 Boissiere, Anthony FRA Kawasaki
8 Hamblin, Sean USA Suzuki
9 Church, Tom GBR Kawasaki
10 Seistola, Matti FIN Honda
11 Dougan, Jason GBR Suzuki
12 Gundersen, Kenneth NOR Yamaha
13 Aubin, Nicolas FRA Yamaha
14 Verbruggen, Dennis BEL Yamaha
15 Kojima, Youhei JPN Suzuki

MX2 Race 2

1 Cairoli, Antonio ITA Yamaha
2 Pourcel, Christophe FRA Kawasaki
3 Searle, Tommy GBR KTM
4 Swanepoel, Gareth RSA Kawasaki (THOR)
5 Rattray,, Tyla RSA KTM
6 Leuret, Pascal FRA Honda
7 Boissiere, Anthony FRA Kawasaki
8 Nunn, Carl GBR Yamaha
9 Gundersen, Kenneth NOR Yamaha
10 Kojima, Youhei JPN Suzuki
11 Guarneri, Davide ITA Yamaha
12 Barr, Martin GBR Yamaha
13 Verbruggen, Dennis BEL Yamaha
14 Simpson, Shaun GBR Kawasaki
15 Dougan, Jason GBR Suzuki

MX2 Championship standings:
1 Cairoli, A. ITA 292
2 Pourcel, C. FRA 228
3 Rattray, Tyla RSA 218
4 Searle, Tommy GBR 175
5 Leuret, Pascal FRA 173
6 Swanepoel, G. RSA 147 (THOR)
7 Gundersen, K. NOR 139
8 Aubin, Nicolas FRA 134
9 Seistola, M. FIN 115
10 Boissiere, A. FRA 95
11 Schiffer, M. GER 90
12 Nunn, Carl GBR 69
13 Church, Tom GBR 65
14 Verbruggen, D. BEL 62
15 Frossard, S. FRA 58

MX1 Race 1

1 Mackenzie, Billy GBR Kawasaki
2 Barragan, Jonathan ESP KTM
3 Coppins, Joshua NZL Yamaha (THOR)
4 Philippaerts, David ITA KTM
5 Brown, Mike USA Honda
6 de Dycker, Ken BEL Honda
7 Pourcel, Sebastien FRA Kawasaki
8 Atsuta, Yoshitaka JPN Honda
9 Ramon, Steve BEL Suzuki
10 Noble, James GBR Honda
11 Priem, Manuel BEL TM
12 Strijbos, Kevin BEL Suzuki
13 Masuda, Kazumasa JPN Honda
14 Nemeth, Kornel HUN Suzuki
15 Nagl, Maximilian GER KTM

MX1 Race 2

1 Brown, Mike USA Honda
2 Mackenzie, Billy GBR Kawasaki
3 Coppins, Joshua NZL Yamaha (THOR)
4 Ramon, Steve BEL Suzuki
5 Atsuta, Yoshitaka JPN Honda
6 Philippaerts, David ITA KTM
7 Leok, Tanel EST Kawasaki
8 Noble, James GBR Honda
9 Priem, Manuel BEL TM
10 Strijbos, Kevin BEL Suzuki
11 Pourcel, Sebastien FRA Kawasaki
12 Nagl, Maximilian GER KTM
13 Theybers, Danny BEL Honda
14 Nemeth, Kornel HUN Suzuki
15 Toda, Kuraudo JPN Suzuki

MX1 Championship standings:

1 Coppins, J. NZL 274 (THOR)
2 Strijbos, K. BEL 211
3 Ramon, Steve BEL 186
4 Pourcel, S. FRA 154
5 Philippaerts, D. ITA 148
6 de Dycker, Ken BEL 146
7 Barragan, J. ESP 143
8 Brown, Mike USA 141
9 Noble, James GBR 128
10 Leok, Tanel EST 126
11 Mackenzie, B. GBR 120
12 de Reuver, M. NED 115 (THOR)
13 Priem, Manuel BEL 103
14 Nagl, M. GER 95
15 Nemeth, Kornel HUN 80