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WMXCzech RepublicAugust 1, 2004
2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 12
Grand Prix of Czech Republic, Loket

Pichon takes second consecutive win

Tiscali Honda rider Mickael Pichon scored his second successive MX1 Grand Prix victory this afternoon at Loket in the Czech Republic while CAS Honda representative Josh Coppins claimed third place.

Mickael Pichon (Honda)

Mickael Pichon (Honda)

Sun and pleasant temperatures graced the twelfth round of the 2004 MX1 World Championships. The Czech terrain was hard and dry offering a quick and physically tough test for the GP stars. The track became rougher as the day went on but there was little in the way of berms and ruts to make the fast course a technical test. The layout in particular made overtaking a less than easy prospect.

Mickael Pichon attacked the races with characteristic vigor and was easily the fastest rider on the track in the opening MX1 moto. The Frenchman, who scored his tenth pole of the season on Saturday, blasted back from a first lap position of 6th to overtake team-mate and early leader Brian Jorgensen on the eleventh circulation. The 28 year old rattled off his charge through the front group with an efficiency only matched by Stefan Everts. He then established a margin of at least four seconds over the Yamaha representative as Jorgensen buckled under the pace late into the moto and slipped back to 4th. Pichon started brightly in the second event of 35 minutes and two lap duration. Along with Coppins and Everts the trio thrilled the 17,000 fans crammed into the Loket inclines with some close and exciting action during the formative stages. The group swapped lines and came close to colliding on several occasions as Pichon tried to force his way to the front past Coppins. After dropping the Kiwi at the halfway point the Frenchman was able to control a comfortable gap over his title rival for a sixth moto win, fourth overall victory and career GP haul of thirty-two.

Coppins collected a brace of third positions to seal the same step on the podium while Jorgensen, still suffering from the foot he broke in two places in a practice crash after the GP of Sweden, wasn’t able to repeat his holeshot of race one but managed a fine comeback from a first lap position of 19th to cross the line 7th, confirming 5th spot overall.

Yoshitaka Atsuta struggled to get to grips with the circuit and did not enjoy the advantage of decent positions exiting the first corner in both motos. He scored a lowly 21st in the first race and then climbed from 16th to 9th in the second. Atsuta finished just outside the top ten with 12th in the final classification. The former Japanese Champion is 13th in the points table.

Pichon has chipped six points from Everts’ lead in the World Championship standings but still lies 93 adrift with only 200 remaining with the last four races. Coppins holds 3rd, 39 points behind Pichon and 23 ahead of KTM’s Steve Ramon.

Team RTT rider Carl Nunn was the highest Honda representative over two motos in the MX2 contest. With an impressive 3rd place in Saturday’s qualifying heat Nunn was optimistic of a first podium of the season but his hopes were scrubbed in the first few seconds of the opening moto as Christian Stevanini crashed into the 25 year old and forced him into the dirt. Nunn came back from last to 17th and then experienced a far more positive race in the second event when a solid ride to 5th placed him 11th overall. The Brit is Honda’s highest ranked MX2 rider in the Championship standings with 9th place after twelve rounds.

CAS rider Jussi Vehvilainen started his first Grand Prix of the season after recovering from a broken back. The Finn, riding the CR250F, had to enter via the Last Chance session and scored 10th and 17th.

The MX2 Grand Prix of the Czech Republic was won again by KTM’s Ben Townley, scooping his seventh victory of the season. Yamaha’s new young talent Antonio Cairoli was a runaway success in the first race as Townley crossed the line third. The Kiwi dominated the second moto.

The World Championships reconvene in seven days time at the historic setting of Namur for the Grand Prix of Wallonie.

Josh Coppins (Honda)

Brian Jorgensen (Honda)

Mickael Pichon:
“I am really happy with this win because I did not expect to lead the race for so long. There were many guys going really fast. I had a lot to do in the first moto and came back from 8th position. I pushed really hard to pass three or four guys but then I reached the group with Josh, Brian and Leok. They were really going for it and I had to settle down for a few laps. I was looking where to pass them and I could find one or two good places. Once I got into the lead I tried hard to breakaway. I had to keep working a lot once Stefan was in second because I knew he had a lot of good speed. I was a little tired but I did not want to give up and realized that a few seconds lead wasn’t enough to be able to relax. I was aware that one mistake would mean that he’d be right behind me, but finally I could make sure of the win.”

“In the second race I made another mess of the jump but I was very lucky and took some positions in the first two or three corners to be fourth. I saw that I had a good speed at the beginning and I did not want Josh or Stefan to escape so again I pushed. I overtook Stefan and then attacked Josh but I was really surprised by his speed. Finally I passed him because I found some better lines and better rhythm. I got quicker when I was in the lead and although I knew Stefan was second again it was quite simple to coast to the victory. I feel really good at the moment with the bike and the team.”

Brian Jorgensen:
“After Sweden I had a week off to rest my hand but when I started training again I crashed heavily in Denmark and broke two bones in my foot. Yet again this stopped me training for a few weeks and riding completely, even the bike was bad because the forks were snapped clean off. I managed to ride three or four days in Italy before coming here. It is the same old story really; every time I have a plan to try and step up my condition something goes wrong and sets me back. Only one week ago I did not know if I could put my foot in the boot so I am happy with the results today considering everything. In the first race I was riding a bit tense and did not find the good lines, I do not have enough time on the bike for things to feel natural in the first few laps and my arms tend to pump. However, I was leading and finished fourth in the first moto, which I regarded as a good result. Coming out of the gate in the second race I collided with Mickael and that put me back slightly. I think I made a good race though with some decent passes. Every time I was coming off a big jump it was like someone putting a knife in my foot so it was good to finish as high as I did. It seems like this year I am not really allowed to be in my best shape.”

Josh Coppins:
“I was setting a good pace in the second moto but I would like to try and maintain those laps. This is something I have to work on. I rode better in the second race because I felt more relaxed and everything came much easier, taking the holeshot helped. When Stefan and Mickael went past I saw I had 40 seconds over fourth and that third was secure. Earlier on Mickael passed me and I got him back immediately because I wanted to show that I give 110%. I lost a bit of rhythm due to the fact that he pushed so hard straightaway and made a small gap. I started to focus on Stefan behind me and as soon as I did that then, of course, it is hard to stay with Mickael!”

Yoshitaka Atsuta:
“I had a bad start and bad race in the first moto. It was hard to push because the circuit was mainly one line and very hard to pass. Towards the end I started getting faster and looked forward to the second moto. I started better and was 15th or 16th on the first lap. The track was rougher and easier to ride and I passed Burnham near the end to take 9th.”

Carl Nunn:
“The second race was OK and at least it was good to finish the GP on a positive note. I got an average start, somewhere around the top ten, and I knew that it was going to be hard to get onto the podium although I believed I had the speed to do that today. I was a bit shaky for the first part of the lap but then I got my head down and passed as many as I could. I had a couple of good places to overtake on the track and they were working quite well. A few people crashed out today as well which helped but it was that kind of track, if you pushed too hard then you were going down; you had to concentrate the whole way through. I got a great start in the first race and was fifth into the first corner but Stevanini got sideways in front of me, cut across and sent me down. His back wheel hit my front wheel and I ended up going in the opposite direction that I wanted. I was last and probably used up a bit too much energy trying to win back positions. I wasn’t happy with the bad luck and the crash but better to finish the day with that 5th place than the other way around.”

Jussi Vehvilainen:
“I had problems with my starts because I have not done so many on the small bike and only then in the sand so the technique did not feel as natural to me as it should. I have been launching from second in the sand and this did not work on this hard track for the qualifying heat yesterday. I almost stalled and it put me virtually last. I had to go into the Last Chance session, which was not what I needed on my first time back! I still didn’t get the starts perfectly for the races and when I came here I knew that I might be only able to get one good moto. The first race was good and bad. I was riding with Rattray and keeping a good pace so I was happy with the result. In the second moto I thought I had broken my finger when I got hit by a rock but I kept going and it affected my rhythm. I wasn’t really fighting at the end and just trying to finish the race.”

2004 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 12
Grand Prix of Czech Republic, Loket


MX1 - Race 1 Result

1 PICHON Mickael (HONDA)
6 RAMON Steve (KTM)
10 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)
11 BILL Julien (KTM)
14 ZERAVA Martin (KTM)

Mickael Pichon (Honda)
MX1 - Race 2 Result
1 PICHON Mickael (HONDA)
9 ATSUTA Yoshitaka (HONDA)
10 BURNHAM Christian (KTM)
11 JONES Mark (KTM)
12 RAMON Steve (KTM)
13 NOBLE James (HONDA)
15 BILL Julien (KTM)

Mickael Pichon (Honda)

Related Links

· WMX - FIM Motocross World Championship
· Czech Republic

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