STRIJBOS AND CAIROLI REIGN ON DEMANDING SUNDAY
AGUEDA, 22 April 2007- The FIM Motocross Grand Prix of Portugal was surely the hottest of the three rounds that were held so far.
A dry and very demanding Crossódromo Internacional do Casarão enjoyed a very healthy crowd attendance, with 18000 spectators, and hosted two unpredictable Grand Prix’s.
In the MX1 class, Kevin Strijbos clinched the second Grand Prix victory of his career, and stopped Joshua Coppins’ winning moment.
The MX2 class was even more unpredictable, with both Antonio Cairoli and Christophe Pourcel crashing in the final heat, but with the Italian winning the GP.
The MX1 Grand Prix looked like a private contest between Suzuki WMX GP’s Kevin Strijbos and Yamaha Motocross’s Joshua Coppins; the rivals won one moto each, but Strijbos clinched the overall victory, the second of his career. Coppins rode for a safe second place, after he injured his left foot on Saturday morning, and his left groin in Bellpuig last weekend. Debutant David Philippaerts of the KTM Red Bull Racing team completed the podium.
MX1 GRAND PRIX RACE 1
Josh Coppins and Mike Brown fought for the holeshot, with the American getting away with the lead of the pack. But Kevin Strijbos passed them both before the end of the opening lap, and started to open up a gap on the runner ups, as Kawasaki riders Sebastien Pourcel, Billy Mackenzie and Tanel Leok were chasing Brown for third. Josh Coppins followed leader Strijbos until he passed at lap ten; in the meantime David Philippaerts worked his way up from eighth to third, but could not close the gap with the front runners. Mackenzie was rounding off the top four, but crashed at lap seventeen and his team mate Leok moved up to fourth. James Noble ended the top five.
MX1 GRAND PRIX RACE 2
Tanel Leok got a storming start to the final heat, and lead the pack for the first lap, but crashed at lap two. Pourcel earned the lead, and held it until lap eight, when Kevin Strijbos moved past him. Coppins fought hard to get rid of the Frenchman and start to chase Strijbos for victory. The Kiwi and the Belgian had an impressive fight, with Kevin earning the lead of the race. Strijbos’ rhythm was very fast, and Coppins had to settle down for a safe second place. Pourcel brought the bike home in third, and kept a safe distance from Manuel Priem, who finished fourth. David Philippaerts struggled a bit at the start, and was tenth at the end of lap one, but he raced another strong moto to finish fifth.
Once again Yamaha De Carli’s Antonio Cairoli ended the event with the GP victory, with young gun Tommy Searle of KTM Red Bull Racing being second overall. GPKR’s Christophe Pourcel was Cairoli’s biggest threat, but was second in moto one and crashed while leading moto two. A very fast Pascal Leuret –running his own team from this third GP- completed the podium.
MX2 GRAND PRIX RACE 1
Cairoli and Nicolas Aubin were the fastest at the start, with the Frenchman pulling away with the lead, and Cairoli being passed by Christophe Pourcel and Matteo Bonini. Pourcel moved past Aubin at lap three, and built a gap over runner up Cairoli; but the gutsy Italian showed an impressive pace at the end of the heat, and moved past Pourcel at lap fifteen, to take the victory. Pourcel kept second place, as young gun Tommy Searle had to fight very hard for a final third place. He stayed behind a very fast Matteo Bonini for fourteen laps, but the Italian was passed by the Brit, Gareth Swanepoel and Tyla Rattray before the chequered flag, and ended sixth, right behind Tyla Rattray. Pascal Leuret rode to a solid seventh place.
Christophe Pourcel wanted the victory, and lead the pack into turn one, but crashed in the middle of the heat. Aubin and Cairoli battled for second place, but it was Pascal Leuret earning the lead when Pourcel crashed. The Frenchman could not stop a very fast Cairoli, who also crashed at lap five. The Italian pulled away with the lead, as Leuret dropped down to third. Aubin moved past him, to finish the final heat in second place ahead of Leuret. Anthony Boissiere was fourth after twenty consistent laps, and Kenneth Gundersen ended the top five. The Norwegian had to attack for the entire moto, as he was twelfth right after the gate dropped.
IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
30 year old Josh Coppins keeps the leadership of the MX1 series, but runner up Kevin Strijbos is coming closer and closer, and is now 19 points from the rival. Jonathan Barragan defended the third place, and so did Steve Ramon with fourth, but both had a disappointing Portuguese Grand Prix. Ken De Dycker snatched fifth from Max Nagl, who ended the Grand Prix with a broken collarbone.
In the MX2 class Antonio Cairoli increased his advantage over runner up Christophe Pourcel, who snatched second from Tyla Rattray. The South African is now third in the Championship, as he scored no points in moto two, due to a mechanical failure. Pascal Leuret moved from fifth to fourth, and Tommy Searle entered the top five.
After two rounds in a row -Spain and Portugal- the FIM Motocross World Championship series takes a week break, and will come back on May 6, for the FIM Motocross Grand Prix of Italy in Mantova.
This week, the Portuguese Grand Prix will be broadcast delayed on:
GAORA: MX1/MX2 delayed
America One : MX 2/MX 1 2nd race delayed on Tuesday 10 days after the event
Information and results on http://www.motocrossMX1.com, the official website of the FIM Motocross World Championships.