Josh Coppins 6th in MX1 Motocross GP Opener

Having started 2009 with some great results at the ‘warm up’ internationals, Josh Coppins headed to Faenza, Italy this past weekend for the first Grand Prix of 2009. Arriving at the circuit on Friday ‘Lizzard’ was welcomed by warm sunshine beating down on the manicured hillside circuit of Faenza, but the good weather and perfect circuit would not hold all weekend.

Saturday would see a new format for MX1 qualifying, where rather than the usual timed qualification all riders would line up for a race that would determine the gate positions for Sunday’s 2 heats. The qualifying race started well for Josh as he blasted his Monster Energy Yamaha into the lead, churning out super smooth and fast laps. With 2 laps to go, Yamaha team mate David Philippaerts closed down on Josh as they both dropped down a long hill towards the cheering crowds. Getting blinded by the setting sun, Josh hit a hole on the circuit and was thrown off his machine and landed very hard on his ribs, putting him out the race and almost last on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. After careful check over Coppins was given the all clear to race on Sunday.

The ever optimistic Kiwi lined up on the grid in the pouring rain for Heat 1 on Sunday, desperate to get a good result to start off his 2009 World Championship pursuit. As the gate dropped it was hard to tell with all the mud who was up front and the large crowd waited in anticipation for the riders to drop back down the hill and into the circuit. Coppins was in a strong 5th position and pushing hard with the leading pack. On lap 3 Josh got caught up in the mud, and lost positions as he dropped down to 10th position. Before long the charging New Zealander had found a good rhythm in the mud and started to pick off the riders lap after lap. With time running out Josh managed to get himself up to 6th position by the chequered flag.

The rain continued to fall and after a track inspection by the FIM it was decided to cancel the 2nd heat and call the overall Grand Prix result on heat 1’s results, giving Josh a 6th overall for the Italian Grand Prix.

Josh had this to say after the race: “Today was just about getting around the track, it was so bad that I got stuck on the hills about 6 times. I also struggled with my eyes, I pulled my goggles off and should have pitted for new ones, instead I tried to ride without them which was not the best idea out there. I feel ok after yesterdays crash, no injuries so that is good.”

Coppins will head to Bulgaria next weekend as round 2 sees will take place in Sevlievo, a 2 hour drive from Sofia.

Image: CDS

Race Results Heat 1 MX1
1 Leok, Tanel EST KTM
2 de Dycker, Ken BEL Suzuki
3 Desalle, Clement BEL Honda
4 Leok, Aigar EST TM
5 Cairoli, Antonio ITA Yamaha
6 Coppins, Joshua NZL Yamaha
7 Nagl, Maximilian GER KTM
8 Church, Tom GBR CCM
9 Philippaerts, David ITA Yamaha
10 Barragan, Jonathan ESP KTM
11 Dougan, Jason GBR CCM
12 Ramon, Steve BEL Suzuki
13 Swanepoel, Gareth RSA Kawasaki
14 de Reuver, Marc NED Honda
15 Bill, Julien SUI Aprilia

World Championship Standings MX1
1 Leok, Tanel EST 25
2 de Dycker, Ken BEL 22
3 Desalle, C. BEL 20
4 Leok, Aigar EST 18
5 Cairoli, A. ITA 16
6 Coppins, J. NZL 15
7 Nagl, M. GER 14
8 Church, Tom GBR 13
9 Philippaerts, D. ITA 12
10 Barragan, J. ESP 11
11 Dougan, Jason GBR 10
12 Ramon, Steve BEL 9
13 Swanepoel, G. RSA 8
14 de Reuver, M. NED 7
15 Bill, J. SUI 6