Red Bull KTM representative Mickael Pichon has pulled out of contention
for the 2006 FIM MX1 World Championship after a virus has necessitated
an indefinite break from the Grand Prix series. The former double 250cc
number one was unable to complete either moto at Zolder for the
season-opener two weeks ago after a course of antibiotics failed to
rectify his weakened condition. Demoralised by the news the 29 year old
is taking his time to recover and regain his strength.
"Everything was great until a few weeks before the 2006 season started
and then I fell ill with a virus that would not respond to
antibiotics,” he said. “I am really disappointed as this was my big
chance being back in a factory team and for the MX1 crown. My health is
the most important thing however and I have to be fit before starting
to think about riding again. I will still do whatever I can to help KTM
to win the MX1 title and also to develop the 2007 race bike,” he added.
KTM will continue with Sebastien Tortelli, who won the first race and
claimed second overall in Belgium, and young Spaniard Jonathan Barragan
as their main spearhead for MX1 success.
"This is a big disappointment for Mickael and all the team," saidHead
of Motorsport Kurt Nicoll. "It has been a tough time for him because
the medical advice to rest after Zolder would have meant missing
another two Grand Prix and effectively losing any chance of the title
he had worked hard for over the winter. It is obviously a blow for us
to lose someone with Mickael’s calibre but we want to stress that he is
very much still a KTM rider and will help with further development on
our race bikes once he is ready to ride again."