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WMXPortugalApril 24, 2005
2005 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 3
Grand Prix of Portugal – Agueda, Portugal

CAS Honda celebrate double podium at Agueda

CAS Honda riders Josh Coppins and Jussi Vehvilainen scored second and third places respectively this afternoon at a wet Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal, round three of the FIM Motocross World Championship. Team Martin Hondas Mickael Pichon won the second moto in convincing fashion but was not able to celebrate a third consecutive podium of the season after carburetion problems forced him out of action in the first race.


Mickael Pichon

The track changed throughout the day. Rainfall overnight produced a muddy and rutty course but it then evolved over the race program into a technical and bumpy test when the sunshine broke through the dark clouds in the afternoon. The 12,000 crowd needed their umbrellas with sporadic showers coating the woodland landscape although the majority of the racing took place in chilly but dry conditions.

Pichon notched his thirteenth consecutive pole position on Saturday but started poorly in the first moto but recovered steering the CR450F to fifth but after two thirds of the race he slowed and retired.

The starts were crucial on terrain that did not allow easy overtaking. Jussi Vehvilainen was running as high as second behind the escaping Stefan Everts (who would go on to win the grand prix overall) and although he was passed by Frenchman Luigi Seguy after a slip his third place helped immensely in securing his first ever MX1 overall podium later in the day.

Josh Coppins fought back from an average start (a first lap position of twelfth) and was riding well for the first time this season to rise to fourth, just missing out on third after chasing down his team-mate in the last two laps. Pascal Leuret registered his best ever MX1 moto finish riding a Honda in fifth.

Pichon was eager for points in the second moto and took advantage of a slip by Everts to seize control of the race and disappear into the distance. The twenty-eight year old recorded his second race win of the campaign so far and finished sixth overall despite his DNF. Coppins was also in contention from the gate and although unable to close the distance to his Honda compatriot, his runner-up placing guaranteed his maiden top three result of 2005.

Vehvilainen pushed his way to tenth and his standing was sufficient by one point from KTMs Steve Ramon in order to climb the rostrum. Pichons team-mate Javier Garcia Vico is still suffering from health problems and had to retire early from both motos.

Honda's presence in MX2 was depleted after the continued absence of Mike Brown, and a heavy crash involving his RWJ team-mate Erik Eggens Saturday afternoon led to a dislocated shoulder, ruling the Dutchman out of action. Patrick Caps was the highest placed rider with a solo moto result of ninth. Yamaha's Antonio Cairoli ruled the MX2 class in tricky conditions and was flanked by Alessio Chiodi and Billy Mackenzie on the podium.

The fourth stop of the seventeen round World Championship occurs in two weeks time at Namur for the Grand Prix of Belgium and is immediately preceded by the German round a week later at Teutschenthal.

Mickael Pichon

Joshua Coppins

Mickael Pichon:
“There was some good and some bad about today more bad than good! I am disappointed because this is a track where I should have had a decent result and there was a chance of winning. As everyone saw I had a problem with the bike in the first race and I felt this from the moment I jumped out of the gate. I made a good comeback, still with the problem because the bike was bogging many times. I was close to the podium and I was happy with that and my speed because I could pass people easily. The bike then stopped and I’m disappointed with this. I have a good feeling with the bike and I told the guys yesterday that I thought something was wrong with the carb. It is a little stupid to lose points this way when maybe a better check could have found the problem; everybody can make a mistake though. The second heat was good and I was pushing Stefan hard, I could see that he was under pressure. He made a mistake and I took the lead. When I was out front I could drop my times by two seconds and pull away. So the win was OK but we should have left here leading the Championship and now we are going to have to work hard coming back again.”

Josh Coppins:
“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:
“The season has been really up and down for me since I dislocated my shoulder at Hawkstone Park. Now I am third which is good but I was disappointed not to win at Spain last week because of a little mistake. I had a good start in the first moto but slid to a stop on the first corner and did not have the drive to jump the step-up so people were passing left, right and over the top of me! I pushed and pushed and found some good speed to come through to fourth. I closed eight seconds on Jussi in the last two laps but I could not get him. It was a hard race because I was fighting all the way. For the second moto I was able to get away better. I was in fourth behind Joel but he was riding out of control. I passed him aggressively and then Stefan crashed so I was second. I saved a bit of energy because I though Stefan would comeback hard but the challenge never came. I looked at Mickael but it was not possible to catch him. I’m really happy to have taken second today.”

Jussi Vehvilainen:
“This is a great result for me because the season has been really bad so far. I had a good start in the first moto and this helped. I had a small crash later in the race that let Seguy through but it was cool to still finish in the top three. In the second race I had a good jump again but was pushed a little wide on the first turn which lost me some positions. Josh is going for the Championship but I will be hoping for some more podiums.”

2005 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 3
Grand Prix of Portugal – Agueda, Portugal

MX1 - Race 1 Result
1 EVERTS Stefan (Yamaha)
2 SEGUY Luigi (Yamaha)
3 VEHVILAÏNEN Jussi (Honda)
4 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
5 LEURET Pascal (Honda)
7 DE DYCKER Ken (Honda)
8 PRIEM Manuel (Yamaha)
9 RAMON Steve (KTM)
10 COOPER Paul (Honda)
11 ATSUTA Yoshitaka (Suzuki)
12 NEMETH Kornel (Suzuki)
13 HUCKLEBRIDGE Mark (Honda)
15 MEO Antoine (HUSQVARNA)

MX1 - Race 2 Result
1 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
2 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
3 EVERTS Stefan (Yamaha)
4 RAMON Steve (KTM)
5 SMETS Joël (Suzuki)
6 COOPER Paul (Honda)
7 ATSUTA Yoshitaka (Suzuki)
8 THEYBERS Danny (Suzuki)
9 NOBLE James (Honda)
10 VEHVILAÏNEN Jussi (Honda)
11 VAN DAELE Marvin (Honda)
12 LEURET Pascal (Honda)
13 BARRAGAN Jonathan (KTM)
14 BERNARDEZ Aaron (Honda)
15 PYRHONEN Antti (TM)

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