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WMXSpainApril 17, 2005
2005 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 2
Grand Prix of Spain – Bellpuig, Lleida

Pichon secures second consecutive podium

Mickael Pichon has finished runner-up again at the second round of the FIM 2005 World Championships today in Spain. The Martin Honda team rider won his first MX1 moto of the season at the circuit where he ruled the 250cc class on three occasions from 2001 to 2003. A second race placing of sixth after suffering some suspension trouble meant that he finished two points behind eventual overall victor Ben Townley (KTM), the 2004 MX2 World Champ enjoying his debut success.

Mickael Pichon

Mickael Pichon

The Bellpuig circuit in Catalunya, located over an hour away from Barcelona, welcomed more than 22,000 fans on a blustery and sunny day. The track was constantly dusty and dry but retained pockets of slushy mud thanks to the intermittent watering. The wind conjured waves of dust that battered the spectators and made life awkward for the riders. Pichon started well in the third moto of the season and was given the lead when Stefan Everts made a rare error going through the whoops and crashed. The Frenchman did not hesitate and despite some arm-pump was able to stretch away a lead of more than twenty seconds over Townley. Amazingly Everts would fall again in the same heat and cross the line in eighth. It was an eventful start to the Grand Prix of Spain as Joel Smets and Brian Jorgensen would also hit the dirt.

The second moto witnessed Pichon holding a place inside the top five until dropping back to sixth spot in the final third, again struggling with his arms. The 28 year old now leads the standings for the first time in almost two years.

CAS Honda rider Josh Coppins was unlucky to miss the podium after hole-shotting and fronting the majority of the second moto. He crashed briefly after a tough move by Suzuki’s Joel Smets. The Kiwi was then overwhelmed by Townley and Stefan Everts and his ranking of fourth equalled his first race effort in which he recovered from a mediocre start and ploughed through the field. Coppins’ efforts in the final two laps in trying to pip Brian Jorgensen for third were exemplary and he was denied on the line by just a tenth of a second. His team-mate Jussi Vehvilainen crashed four times in both races, two through no fault of his own, but it largely ruined his quest for points and a decent overall finish.

Local favourite Javier Garcia Vico was making his GP debut in Honda colours and his first World Championship outing in almost a year. The Spaniard had recovered from the food poisoning that forced him to leave Zolder prematurely but still lacks race and test time on the 450F. He was able to register 13th and 7th (7th overall) in front of a boisterous partisan crowd.

In MX2 Erik Eggens laid the building blocks for a maiden podium in Honda colours when he claimed third place in the initial sprint. Sadly his involvement in a multi-rider spill early during the second moto, and then another self-induced fall meant that he could only push back to 14th and collect 5th in the final GP points table. His team-mate Mike Brown did not attend the event and an press release was issued by the RWJ Honda team. Eggens is now sixth in the standings and twenty-one points away from leader Cedric Melotte.

The third stop in the 2005 World Championship schedule occurs in just seven days time at Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal.

Joshua Coppins

Joshua Coppins

Mickael Pichon:
“The motos look different but they were more or less the same. After about 15 minutes in each race my arms pumped and I could not push. I was surprised to win the first race like this. In the second moto I missed my start but was able to close up on the group in front a little bit then the arms went again and there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t use the clutch or the front brake and I was making many mistakes. I just tried to stay on the bike. It is still a good weekend. I was able to take second in the GP and I am now leading the Championship. I don’t feel like I am riding my best at the moment. We have to sort out the problem we have with the fork. It was the same situation in Zolder but improved a bit for today. We have to keep working to find a solution.”

Javier Garcia Vico:
“Everything went OK today. Obviously I am missing three weeks of riding and
need more time on the bike to get my rhythm and speed up. The races were good enough today considering that I have only just got on the bike and this was easy to observe. We will see what more we can do in Portugal and look to move forwards from here. The bike was going well and we worked pretty hard on Saturday. It was great being in front of the fans here; it was just a shame about the dust.”

Josh Coppins:
“It was an up-and-down day. I came here with a goal of finishing in the top five after a bad day at Zolder but it looks like I could have won the GP so I am a little disappointed. Things are getting better so this is the bright side but I made a stupid mistake in the second moto because I was good enough to win it. I had a bad start in the first moto but came from eleventh to fourth, which was quite good. I tried-and-tried to pass Jorgensen on the last laps but couldn’t get him. In the second race I hole-shotted and was leading most of the way, pulling away a little bit from Joel. I then made a mistake and I did not realise he was so close. I went wide in a turn and he came underneath and hit me. The front wheel went into a soft berm and tucked so I crashed. I got going in fifth and passed Ramon for fourth. I could have won the GP with results of 4-2, even if Joel passed me so I am disappointed for the mistake.”

Jussi Vehvilainen:
“It was a bad Grand Prix for me. I got caught up at the start as a rider crashed in front of me and I went down to something like 20th. I then fell again trying to make up positions and bent the bike. I was so far back that taking any points would have been impossible. In the second moto I got involved in a pile-up at the start and my back brake disappeared. I pulled into the pits and they took half of Brian Jorgensen’s shirt out of my wheel! I went out again but would have another crash. Overall it was very forgettable.”

Erik Eggens:
“The first heat was really good and it was nice to be there at the front again. In the second I hit a crash involving Church, Stevanini and Maschio and came back to ninth or tenth and then had my own crash which meant I had to work again to return from twentieth to fourteenth. I was happy with the riding though. The first time I went out on the Honda I felt good. I am now hitting a good level and just need to put two motos together.”

2005 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 2
Grand Prix of Spain – Bellpuig, Lleida

MX1 - Race 1 Result
1 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
3 JORGENSEN Brian (Yamaha)
4 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
5 RAMON Steve (KTM)
6 NOBLE James (Honda)
7 SMETS Joël (Suzuki)
8 EVERTS Stefan (Yamaha)
10 BERNARDEZ Aaron (Honda)
11 DE DYCKER Ken (Honda)
12 COOPER Paul (Honda)
13 GARCIA VICO Javier (Honda)
14 STRIJBOS Kevin (Suzuki)
15 PYRHONEN Antti (TM)

Mickael Pichon (Honda)
MX1 - Race 2 Result
1 SMETS Joël (Suzuki)
2 EVERTS Stefan (Yamaha)
4 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
5 RAMON Steve (KTM)
6 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
7 GARCIA VICO Javier (Honda)
8 NEMETH Kornel (Suzuki)
9 STRIJBOS Kevin (Suzuki)
10 PYRHONEN Antti (TM)
11 THEYBERS Danny (Suzuki)
12 COOPER Paul (Honda)
13 HUCKLEBRIDGE Mark (Honda)
14 NOBLE James (Honda)
15 FEDERICI Claudio (Yamaha)

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