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WMXFranceJune 6, 2004
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 8
Grand Prix of France – St Jean d’Angely

Heartache for Pichon as Coppins collects more silverware

Josh Coppins scored second position behind double moto winner Stefan Everts this afternoon at a sunny St Jean d’Angely for the Grand Prix of France, round eighth and the halfway point of the 2004 World Championship.

Josh Coppins

Josh Coppins

The CAS Honda rider guided his CR 450f to a brace of top three positions to back up his maiden MX1 GP success in England last weekend with a consecutive piece of silverware.

The hottest day of the Motocross season so far baked the French mud and created a dusty and slippery test for the riders of the MX1 and MX2 classes. The dust also became a factor particularly in the early laps before the respective fields began to be drawn out and dispersed. The circuit was a technical challenge but the stony terrain forced only one fast line, making overtaking moves a precious commodity.

Disappointment was in store for Tiscali rider and former World Champion Mickael Pichon at his home Grand Prix. After taking pole position Pichon completed a solid first moto with the runner-up slot behind an authoritative Everts, the pair then set about an exciting battle within the first two laps of the second race until the tussle was cruelly cut short by an errant stone that broke the Frenchman’s front brake, drained the fluid and forced an immediate retirement.

Coppins was able to complete his consistent ride (he even led the first quarter of the initial MX1 moto before being subdued by the pace of Everts and then Pichon) and perched the 450 Honda on the podium once more. The bag of points sees the Kiwi now lying third in the Championship and only two points behind second placed Cedric Melotte.

Brian Jorgensen continues to make progress after his shoulder injury sustained at Lichtenvoorde several weeks ago. A Moto2 crash meant that he was unable to place higher than 6th overall but is now nearing a level of race condition to be able to fight for the podium.

Yoshitaka Atsuta was mildly pleased with his best result of the year (7th) but a first moto crash and a knock to his shoulder tempered his satisfaction.

The MX2 contest was won by KTM’s Tyla Rattray who picked up the maximum 25 point haul in the second moto and the overall success thanks to team-mate and good friend Ben Townley’s error. The New Zealander and World Championship leader comprehensively won the first moto of the day but made a small mistake and crashed in the second MX2 race, opening the door for Rattray with Kawasaki’s Mickael Maschio second and Yamaha’s Alessio Chiodi completing the podium. Top Honda rider once more was RTT representative Carl Nunn, the Briton erased a lowly first race result of 18th with a decent fifth position finish in the second, placing him 11th overall. RWJ’s Jamie Dobb failed to finish both races.

Mickael Pichon

Mickael Pichon

Josh Coppins
"The first race was OK. I started well but just pushed too hard on the first few laps. I had to slow down a little and lost my rhythm and the other guys went past. I was a bit disappointed because I think I should have done better. The second race I started OK and pushed and pushed at the start to get up to and past Demaria. I made some good points today so I am happy about that. The bike was working well. We made some more improvements this week and the Honda is getting better and better for me. I am riding more confident after last week for sure."

Mickael Pichon
"Obviously I am disappointed. The day started really well. We had worked a lot and I took a good time yesterday. In the first heat I was happy with my second place but I made a small mistake with the tyres because I picked a compound that was too hard. So I knew for the second moto if I made a different choice then things would be different, we also made a change on the setting of the suspension. At the start of the second heat I knew I was good physically and I had a good jump, the bike was working much better. I was on the gas and very motivated. I was close to Stefan and could see that he was on the limit whereas I still had something left to give. I was feeling good and had a strong rhythm. I cannot say if I would have got him but I had a great chance and would have put him under a lot of pressure. I then got hit by a rock from Stefan’s wheel and it smashed the front brake. The fluid drained out and I almost went into the fence on the downhill. There was not much I could do because I had no front brake at all. I was mad because it was my home GP and I felt like I could have won. Once again we have bad luck and it is sad for me and the team because we are working so hard. I showed today that I was the only guy who could have beaten Stefan but unfortunately I was the first one back to the pits."

Brian Jorgensen
"My level is coming back but at the moment I have to stay calm on the bike and I cannot push to the limit and be aggressive like I was before. We have a few days between the GPs now and I want to go home and get a few motos under my belt and get my feeling on the bike back, slowly I think my condition is returning. If we had a two week break then I would be able to train hard and it would be easier to make a better preparation for the next GP. This weekend I was struggling at the starts. I took it easy in the beginning because people were falling everywhere and big rocks were flying around. I took it steady and tried to stay out of trouble. I got up to 8th, which I thought was not a bad result. In the second race I was staying with Melotte for a couple of laps but then lost the front. I don’t know why and these things happen but I was down in 22nd and had to fight back and found the rhythm again. I had so much pain for three laps because when I hit the ground the rocks had scraped the scar from my wrist operation. I tried one more lap and felt better so was able to carry on."

Yoshitaka Atsuta
"In the first race I didn’t get a bad start but I crashed hard. I came back for some points. In the second race I was a little bit nervous because of the crash and tried to ride smooth. My shoulder and back was not in the best condition but I was able to make some fast laps. I am happy with the result but I know I can push harder so this is good for the future.”

Carl Nunn
"In the first moto I didn’t choose the right tyres. I didn’t get a good start and also crashed, so it could not have got much worse. I wasn’t riding well because I could not get enough traction. In the second race I got a great drop and was running in third. I rode a pretty strong race and kept my lap-times up. I had a small spill but kept the bike running and did not lose any positions."

2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 8
Grand Prix of France – St Jean d’Angely


MX1 - Race 1 Result
2 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
3 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
5 RAMON Steve (KTM)
7 MEO Antoine (KAWASAKI)
8 JORGENSEN Brian (Honda)
9 NOBLE James (Honda)
10 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)
11 LEOK Tanel (SUZUKI)
12 BILL Julien (KTM)
13 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)
14 ATSUTA Yoshitaka (Honda)
15 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)

MX1 - Race 2 Result
2 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
4 RAMON Steve (KTM)
6 ATSUTA Yoshitaka (Honda)
8 FREIBERGS Lauris (Honda)
9 JORGENSEN Brian (Honda)
10 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)
11 BETHYS Thierry (Honda)
12 KOVALAINEN Marko (Honda)
14 NAMBOTIN Christophe (YAMAHA)
15 ODDENINO Enrico (TM)


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