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WMXItaliaJune 13, 2004
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 9
Grand Prix of Italy Gallarate

Pichon takes podium result in Italy

Mickael Pichon fired back from the disappointment of his home Grand Prix seven days ago in France to earn third place this afternoon at Gallarate for the ninth round of the MX1 World Championships in Italy; the third consecutive weekend of GP motocross. The Frenchman riding the Honda 450 four-stroke machine for the Italian Tiscali squad didn’t experience any more trouble with his front brake and scored his podium finish thanks to moto results of 3rd and 2nd. Stefan Everts was the winner once more on the Yamaha with Kevin Strijbos gaining his best ever GP result with 2nd on the Suzuki.

Pichon, Mickael (Honda)

Pichon, Mickael (Honda)

The temperatures were lower than the scorching first day of practice and qualifying on Saturday and some scattered cloud delivered welcome respites from the sun. The track was very stony and dry however making over-taking a difficult prospect. By the end of the afternoon thin clouds of dust were surrounding the action.

Strijbos made a lightning start in the opening race and both Everts and Pichon took their time to make it through to the podium positions. The duo raced close together towards the end of the heat but Pichon never looked like being able to overhaul the Championship leader. The pair faced-off again in the second race, this time at the front of the field and where the Honda rider was leading before Everts instigated another duel. The pass was made and while Pichon was able to gain on every circulation, Everts was able to counter on another part, keeping the gap constant and seemingly unbreakable. Strijbos would fly back from being as far down as 18th to pip Ramon for fourth and nudge Pichon down to the bottom step.

CAS Honda man Josh Coppins was running among the leaders in both races but stalling the bike in the first moto while 4th meant that he had to tussle his way back to 6th. In the second event he hole-shotted and led for the first three laps but succumbed to the pace of Everts and Pichon. The New Zealander remained consistent to the flag to secure third, 4th overall and some decent points.

Brian Jorgensen endured an average weekend in comparison to his German GP winning form. The Dane was disappointed to collect 11th spot overall and his second moto finish of 16th, including a small crash, was not inspiring. ‘Jorgy’ is still suffering with a weakened shoulder dislocated at Lichtenvoorde several weeks ago and is fighting to return to full race condition. His efforts to hold off Stefan Everts for eight laps while third in the first moto provided thrilling entertainment.

Yoshitaka Atsuta experienced two motos of contrasting luck. The former Japanese Champion fell in the opening turn of the first race and stalled the bike restarting but had to pit immediately with a broken wheel. He climbed back to 20th. In the second affair he started brightly and was constantly running inside the top ten, eventually going on to take a strong 6th.

With 8th place overall SRS Honda rider Jeff Dement was Honda’s top rider in the MX2 category. In a class where the local Italian riders were particularly strong Dement earned 10th and 9th in the two motos. RTT rider Carl Nunn was able to take 12th.

After injuring his hand last week in France (ligament damage) RWJ Honda rider Jamie Dobb was absent from the MX2 contest but hopeful of returning for the Grand Prix of Belgium at Neeroeteren in two weeks time. Andrew McFarlane headed an all-Yamaha podium after proving to be dominant in both races. Alessio Chiodi and Claudio Federici respectively rounded off the top three.

The new Aprilia twin cylinder made its debut today at a circuit less than five kilometres from the Italian factory. In a tentative but attention-grabbing outing the ‘silent’ crosser took a best result of 21st in the hands of Javier Garcia Vico.

Mickael Pichon is currently third in the MX1 standings, 109 points behind leader Everts and trailing Josh Coppins by 7.

Coppins, Joshua (Honda)

Coppins, Joshua (Honda)

Mickael Pichon:
“I can never say that I am happy with third but I tried everything that I could today. I was fourth in the first moto and finding the rhythm but I got involved in a battle with my team-mate and lost some time. The track was really slippery and it was hard to find traction. In the last ten minutes I had some good speed and the track was drying out from the watering. I came back on Ramon and was catching Stefan but could not find a spot to pass him. I knew the second moto would be between him and me. In that race I was able to come to the front quickly but I was trying a little bit too hard and did not have the best lines. I saw Stefan coming back and he passed me. From that point I tried to slow down a little bit and gain some more momentum. He pulled away and I was watching his lines. I stayed maybe two or three seconds behind but he did not move a muscle all race. I was pushing hard in some places and gaining on two or three corners but it was difficult to stay close to him. At the end I was really pushing to come back but again I left it a bit late and made a mistake and almost crashed. I lost a lot of points in France and the DNF has been the only low point of these three GPs.”

Brian Jorgensen:
“In the first race I did not get a bad start and my rhythm was OK. I wanted to stay on the bike and not make any silly mistakes. I am trying to get race-time and better and better each week at the moment. The shoulder is still not so good and I could feel it affecting my handling of the bike. I hoped to catch a similar start in the second moto, unfortunately I didn’t and I think I was sleeping on the gate. I then struggled all race and could not pass the other riders easily. I saw the blue flag and thought there was still some laps left, when I moved over for Stefan I made a stupid crash and do not know where I finally finished.”

Josh Coppins:
“Stalling the bike in the first moto did not help but I had chosen the wrong tyre or moose anyway and I had a lot of problems with traction. For the first 15 minutes it was fine and I was riding good but then the moose swelled because of the heat and I lost grip. I stalled the bike coming down the hill because I could not control it under braking. In the second moto I took the hole shot but I could not follow Pichon or Everts. I didn’t enjoy the track today but I did my best and got some points for the Championship.”

Yoshitaka Atsuta:
“I crashed in the first corner because I got caught with somebody’s front wheel. Two spokes were broken and I was in the pit for more than one minute which means I was a long way behind. I tried to race but there was nobody there! I managed to take one point. The start in the second race was much better and I was happy with my riding.”

2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 9
Grand Prix of Italy Gallarate


MX1 - Race 1 Result

1 Strijbos, Kevin (Suzuki)
2 Everts, Stefan (Yamah)
3 Pichon, Mickael (Honda)
4 Ramon, Steve (KTM)
5 Jorgensen, Brian (Honda)
6 Coppins, Joshua (Honda)
7 Leok, Tanel (Suzuki)
8 Seguy, Luigi (Yamaha)
9 Melotte, Cedric (Yamaha)
10 Bill, Julien (KTM)
11 de Dijcker, Ken (Honda)
12 Burnham, Christian (KTM)
13 Meo, Antoine (Kawasaki)
14 Freibergs, Lauris (Honda)
15 Kovalainen, Marko (Honda)

Pichon, Mickael (Honda)
MX1 - Race 2 Result
1 Everts, Stefan (Yamaha)
2 Pichon, Mickael (Honda)
3 Coppins, Joshua (Honda)
4 Strijbos, Kevin (Suzuki)
5 Ramon, Steve (KTM)
6 Atsuta, Yoshitaka (Honda)
7 Seguy, Luigi (Yamaha)
8 Bill, Julien (KTM)
9 de Dijcker, Ken (Honda)
10 Melotte, Cedric (Yamaha)
11 Dobes, Josef (Suzuki)
12 Burnham, Christian (KTM)
13 Nambotin, Christophe (Yamaha)
14 Leok, Tanel (Suzuki)
15 Freibergs, Lauris (Honda)

Pichon, Mickael (Honda)


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