MotoCross > 2005 Round 12: Belgium > Race Results
WMXBelgiumJuly 31, 2005
2005 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 12
Grand Prix of Belgium – Nismes

Pichon celebrates comeback with victory

Martin Honda rider Mickael Pichon made a sweet return to World Championship motocross today by winning the Grand Prix of Wallonie at a showery and chilly Nismes circuit in southern Belgium.

Mickael Pichon

Mickael Pichon

In front of 21,000 spectators (total for the weekend) the former double 250cc World Champ and 2004 MX1 runner-up went 1-2 in the two 35 minute plus motos at the twelfth round of seventeen in the 2005 FIM series to capture his second overall success of the season. CAS Honda representative Josh Coppins stood next to him on the podium and his spectacularly-earned runner-up spot meant another point deducted from the advantage currently held by standings leader Stefan Everts, who was third on his works Yamaha.

The Saturday practice and qualification program had been reduced to preserve the track due to excessive rainfall throughout Friday night. Pichon was immediately on the pace having missed the last two Grand Prix to recover from minor knee surgery and clocked a lap-time during a surprisingly sunny 30 minute Timed Practice to collect his ninth pole position of the season, just a tenth of a second faster than Stefan Everts. Coppins was enjoying one of his favourite circuits despite the very muddy conditions and the presence of a single dry racing line. The New Zealander was third quickest less than a second away from Pichon.

The first moto saw Pichon pass hole shotter Brian Jorgensen on the third lap and stretch away to a fairly straightforward victory. Josh Coppins then carved past the Dane and privateer Pascal Leuret in a thrilling mini-battle. The winner of the last two Grand Prix slowly chipped at Pichon’s lead but was riding alone in second place for the majority of the distance. Leuret had another fantastic ride on a stock CRF Honda to collect his second top three finish of the season. Everts had fallen again in a Grand Prix race and the CAS team enjoyed a gain of six points over the Belgian. Coppins, who had taken 142 points from a possible 150 in the last three Grand Prix, was a victim of a second turn tumble that also caught up Leuret at the beginning of Moto2. Heavy rain affected the first fifteen minutes of the race and turned the Belgian mud into a slippery and often perilous test as many riders were caught out by the conditions.

While Pichon again headed the field Coppins embarked on one of the most impressive rides of the season as he fought back from last position to eleventh by the end of the first lap and then proceeded to climb to third throughout the duration of the moto, constantly setting the fastest lap-time of the race. Stefan Everts overtook Pichon with five laps to run after a cat and mouse duel, and the Frenchman soon fell into the clutches of Coppins as the Swedish and South African GP victor winner closed down a five second gap to set-up a grandstand finish. Only a small mistake while on the back of the Martin rider’s rear wheel negotiating the last lap meant that Coppins could not get quite close enough to snatch second. Leuret was able to rally to ninth spot and his overall score was slightly better than Sarholz Honda rider Ken De Dycker who equalled his season-best finish with fourth position in the second moto (he took the same placing at Zolder). Four Honda’s placed in the final top five.

RWJ’s James Noble started out of the top ten in the first moto and was beaten to fifteenth position by Marvin Van Deale. In the second outing he collided with TM’s Antti Pyrhonen and was again forced to settle for few points. Multitek Honda’s Paul Cooper crashed in both motos after failing to get to grips with the circuit.

In MX2 Yamaha’s Antonio Cairoli won his tenth moto and second Grand Prix from the last three with a comprehensive double. He was joined on the ‘Yamaha podium’ by Andrew McFarlane and Cedric Melotte. Honda were best represented by SRS rider Patrick Caps who was eleventh and fifth. Martin Honda’s Matteo Bonini scored sixteenth overall.

A heavy practice crash for RWJ representative Erik Eggens the week after South Africa necessitated a hospital visit for the Dutchman and he was unable to race at Nismes. Coppins’ team-mate Jussi Vehvilainen suffered more injury woe after a crash at the sixth round of the British Championship last weekend left the Finn with a damaged neck.

Pichon was ambiguous concerning his future in the press conference stating that his mentality towards the rest of the season was still undecided. The Frenchman initially made noises before the Grand Prix of France that he was considering retirement. He did however confirm that he was mooting a possible MX2 ride on the Honda CRF 250F for the Motocross of Nations that will be occurring at his local circuit of Ernee towards the end of September.

In terms of the MX1 Championship standings Josh Coppins has nibbled one point away from the Everts’ margin and the gap now stands at thirty-eight. Pichon is fifth.

The paddock now heads towards the east with the thirteenth round of seventeen due to take place next week at the Loket circuit for the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic.

Joshua Coppins

Joshua Coppins

Josh Coppins, CAS Honda:
“The first ten minutes of the first moto was bad but by the end of the race I was making good lap-times. I was hoping that the second race would be a lot better and it was apart from the second corner. I did not get a good jump from the gate in the second moto. We went down the hill and I thought I would go around the outside of a few guys. Pascal Leuret crashed and I went straight into him and ended up being upside down. I started last and began to come back but had to lose my goggles on lap four or five. It cost me a lot of time to pass people because the track is pretty stony and I was trying to protect my eyes as much as I could. I was finally able to make some good speed but I am slightly disappointed that I could not pass Mickael at the end. I was looking for a way through but it meant having to change lines because I could not follow him. I was making a few mistakes and I put my heart and soul into this race. I took one more point than Stefan but I was fast enough to take more today. I will keep trying for this title and never give up.”

Mickael Pichon, Martin Honda:
“I want to thank the guys in the team because even if things are going so well at the moment off the track they didn’t stop working on the bike and I could feel that from yesterday. We have been struggling with the starts this season but the bike was great today and it is so important to get out of the gate right near the front. I was surprised that the track was not so demanding today. I have not been riding much lately and I had some arm pump in the first moto but physically it was not that difficult. It is a nice place and very technical; it is good to be racing so close to France. I really did not think that I would be able to win that race but both Stefan and Josh had some bad luck. I am happy to come back in this way but I don’t know what I will do in the future now.”

Pascal Leuret:
“In the first race I had a great start and was in second place. I passed Jorgensen to follow Mickael but then Josh came past also and I tried to stay with him. I had a big gap over Jorgensen and it was a perfect race for me! I was not happy with the second moto because I felt that it was possible I could finish on the podium but Coppins touched my rear wheel which made us both crash on the downhill corner. Afterwards I was pushing hard but there was not much traction and I crashed again losing the front wheel. I finished ninth which I am happy with because overall it was a good race for me. I hope now that I can find a good team for next season.”

James Noble, RWJ Honda:
“It wasn’t a great day. In the first race I did not ride well and struggled. I ended up sixteenth and it could have been a lot better. In the second race things were going well after I had been held up by Josh’s crash at the start. I was passing a lot of people but then Antti Pyrhonen took me out and dropped me back down the pack. I was coming through strong again but then my back brake was clogged up with mud and stones and I had to kick away at that and come home eighteenth; a disappointing GP overall.”

Roger Harvey, Honda Europe Motocross Co-ordinator:
“What a great day for us. Pichon’s comeback was the best possible thing for him and also the Martin team and it was fantastic to see; I think he rode really well in the conditions and totally deserved the win. Josh made a magnificent effort to keep in the World Championship chase with Stefan Everts and I think his performance in coming from last to third in the second moto was the best I have ever seen him ride. A special mention must also go to Pascal Leuret, competing with a stock bike and support from Honda France. His podium was great but to also fight his way to ninth in that difficult second moto is a result worthy of praise.”

2005 FIM Motocross World Championship Round 12
Grand Prix of Belgium – Nismes

MX1 - Race 1 Result
1 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
2 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
3 LEURET Pascal (Honda)
4 JORGENSEN Brian (Yamaha)
5 EVERTS Stefan (Yamaha)
6 RAMON Steve (KTM)
8 SMETS Joël (Suzuki)
9 DE DYCKER Ken (Honda)
10 PRIEM Manuel (Yamaha)
11 STRIJBOS Kevin (Suzuki)
12 THEYBERS Danny (Suzuki)
13 LEOK Tanel (Kawasaki)
14 SEGUY Luigi (Yamaha)
15 VAN DAELE Marvin (Honda)

Mickael Pichon (Honda) & Joshua Coppins (Honda)
MX1 - Race 2 Result
1 EVERTS Stefan (Yamaha)
2 PICHON Mickael (Honda)
3 COPPINS Joshua (Honda)
4 DE DYCKER Ken (Honda)
5 PRIEM Manuel (Yamaha)
6 SMETS Joël (Suzuki)
7 ATSUTA Yoshitaka (Suzuki)
8 RAMON Steve (KTM)
9 LEURET Pascal (Honda)
10 THEYBERS Danny (Suzuki)
11 FREIBERGS Lauris (Suzuki)
12 LEOK Tanel (Kawasaki)
14 SEGUY Luigi (Yamaha)
15 STRIJBOS Kevin (Suzuki)

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