Courtesy of Yamaha
Yamaha Red Bull De Carli’s Antonio Cairoli has claimed his second win of the season and second double moto set of 2009 after an entertaining afternoon of racing at Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal and the fifth event from the calendar of fifteen races in the FIM MX1-GP World Championship. The Sicilian captured two chequered flags to win his fourth Portuguese GP in five years, his first in MX1-GP and with the YZ450F, and extend his immaculate record at Agueda to nine triumphs from ten motos.
Yamaha rider Antonio Cairoli captured two chequered flags to win his fourth Portuguese GP in five years,.
Cloudy but warm conditions, with a light shower coating the second MX1-GP race, graced the weekend in Agueda. 25,000 spectators (weekend figure) surrounded the hard and rough red soil that proved to be harder and more slippery compared to previous years and forced the riders to consider several tyre options on Saturday. A bumpier surface on Sunday was physically tough.
The YZ450F – that was used so effectively by James Stewart to obtain the AMA Supercross Championship in Las Vegas last week – was also an effective tool in the hands of Cairoli who was nothing short of superlative across the Agueda slopes. He fought back from a good start (top five) in Moto1 and a mediocre launch (eighth) in Moto2 to enjoy superior speed over his rivals and twice deny Ken De Dycker victory. A key moment took place in the second race when the former double world champion was fighting for second position with reigning MX1-GP title holder, Yamaha Monster Energy MX Team’s David Philippaerts, and Clement Desalle. Holding the inside line on a fast downhill Cairoli missed the rut and collided with Philippaerts, forcing a retirement.
Philippaerts – who had led the first third of the opening race until a crash dropped him to 5th place – later went to hospital with a painful left hand and was diagnosed with a broken index finger that will mean he travels to Spain next week far from 100% fit.
Antonio Cairoli, Yamaha Red Bull, 1st:
“This is a lucky and special track for me because I have won nine of the last ten motos here and this year it was unbelievable. In the second moto I did not expect to be able to catch everyone, especially Ken, like that and win the GP. My first lap was really bad but then I could find some good passing places. I am sorry about the contact with David. I did not expect him to be there and it was not my intention to touch. These things happen and they are not nice. After that I could overtake Desalle and was able to focus on catching Ken for the lead. I am really happy with this win. I thought before the season that I might be able to be in the top five by this stage but to be leading the championship is something very special. I am enjoying my riding and this is the important thing.”
Josh Coppins rode consistently to score 4th overall, after almost grabbing pole position on Saturday. The Kiwi was adrift of the battle for the lead but his finishes of 7th (a consequence of a fall) and 4th in the motos represented an improvement over his last GP in Holland and demonstrated a recovery from the low energy levels he has recently suffered.
Tanel Leok was 6th in the final classification after circulating on the fringes of the top five; recording a 5th position in Moto1 and 6th in Moto2, despite a small technical problem that interrupted his power supply.
Cairoli now has a full ‘race’ lead in the championship standings of 25 points over De Dycker. Coppins is 4th, 2 points ahead of Leok, while Philippaerts’ DNF has proved costly and he has dropped to 6th place. Yamaha front the Manufacturer’s title chase by 37 points. The YZ450F motorcycle now has claimed four of the five GPs run so far.
Yamaha’s MX1-GP fleet will now spend the week travelling across the border and through Spain to the Bellpuig circuit and the Grand Prix of Catalunya for round six.
Josh Coppins, Yamaha Monster Energy MX Team, 4th:
“I’m still not quite strong enough and my mind is saying ‘go faster’ but my body cannot keep up. I am riding smooth and easy with consistent laps and a stupid crash in the first moto was the only real black mark. In the second race I rode pretty well but nothing special and did what I had to do. I pushed at the end to try and pass Desalle but ran out of time. I know that there is better to come. I am doing the best I can, which is not bad but it is just off where I want to be. My starts were alright and overall the weekend was not bad; not as good as the first two GPs but better than the last two.”
Tanel Leok, Yamaha Red Bull De Carli, 6th:
“The result is good; the top six is where I should be every week. I was struggling a little bit in the first moto and wasn’t feeling so good but the second race was better until we had some bad luck with that small problem with the bike and I was losing drive in sections and overshooting berms in others. I am being consistent with my motos and I know that on a normal day I am fighting for the podium.”
Courtesy of Suzuki
Teka Suzuki World MX1’s Ken De Dycker took second position and this third podium result of the season at a cloudy and changeable Agueda circuit and the Grand Prix of Portugal for the fifth round of the 2009 FIM MX1 Motocross World Championship.
The Belgian was second in both motos and led the second race for well over half distance on the RM-Z450.
The Portuguese event, attended by 25,000 people, offered two ‘climates’ with the first moto occurring in warm and dry conditions and the second, later in the afternoon taking place through a light shower, winds and lower temperatures. Nevertheless the undulating hard-pack track gradually got rougher throughout the day and was physically demanding courtesy of the many bumps and ripples.
Ken de Dycker lead the MX1 pack for a number of laps in both heats, but ultimately fell to Cairoli each time.
De Dycker, who had taken his second pole position of the season with victory in the qualification heat yesterday, effectively fought his way through to the front of the pack from a top five start in the first moto. He passed World Champion David Philippaerts and set the pace for three laps before becoming a victim to Antonio Cairoli’s lap-times. He was able to secure the runner-up position.
In the following sprint, De Dycker was sharp negotiating the first lap and proceeded to establish a margin of at least five seconds over his pursuers. He held first spot for 15 of the 20 laps but again had no answer to Cairoli in the closing stages.
De Dycker was content with his third set of silverware and has again moved up to second in the world championship standings, 25 points behind Cairoli but 16 ahead of Jonathan Barragan.
Agueda was also the scene of the second round of the Women’s World Championship and Teka Suzuki Europe MX2’s Larissa Papenmeier took her RM-Z250 to third place overall for her first podium of the season.
Teka Suzuki WMX1 will now travel east to Spain and the Bellpuig circuit for the Grand Prix of Catalunya and round six of fifteen next week.
Ken De Dycker, 2nd:
“I am happy with second because the last GP did not go as I hoped it would. This was an improvement even if I was not strong enough to keep the lead from Antonio in both races. To be honest I did not expect him to be so good. In the second moto I tried really hard to pull away and make a big gap but it was very rough and slippery out there. I was making a few mistakes but my riding was still OK because we had reverted back to some of the suspension settings we had last year and it worked out well. Anyway the result here is still good and I hope we can get stronger next week and for the GPs to come.”
Courtesy of Honda
Clement Desalle, LS Honda, 3rd:
“I took my first podium at Faenza but that was in crazy weather conditions so this one feels a bit better. I had to work hard for this but I am very happy with the result. I tried my best and I think for Honda it is good because there has been some bad luck with the other riders. I had a problem with my throttle cable at the start of the second moto but it was nothing major and I could continue.”
Honda was able to celebrate podium appearances in the MX1 category thanks to LS Honda’s Clement Desalle.
Honda’s representation in the premier class in Portugal was severely dented by pre-event training accidents that side-lined their riders in both the Martin Honda and CAS Honda teams. Their absence leaving Desalle to steer the CRF450R to third place in both Motos after bright starts for third place overall across the undulating Agueda slopes. He is the top Honda rider on current form and deserved his second rostrum appearance of the season.
Martin Honda were not able to wheel their machines out of the awning over the weekend as Kevin Strijbos had broken his scaphoid the previous week and several days after Strijbos’ demise Marc De Reuver sustained a dislocated hip and three broken vertebrae after a training crash. Strijbos will face a month on the sidelines while the season is most certainly over for De Reuver.
CAS Honda had Cedric Melotte absent through a back complaint leaving teammate Billy Mackenzie hoping for a positive weekend to lift Honda spirits. But fate determined otherwise when a minor fall, while attempting a flying lap in the second practice session, left the Scot with a swollen right thumb. Despite a pain-killing injection the British Champion had to withdraw from the first moto and also the Grand Prix.
Billy Mackenzie, CAS Honda:
“The weekend started off mega. We got the bike working really well and I was happy and confident and we made some decent times in the first session. I went to make a lap in the pre-qualifying and I knew it was a flyer because it was the fastest split and the front end washed out. I must have put my hand out and jammed my thumb. It started swelling and then turned black and blue. I had an injection but I could not hold onto the bars and was also having a lot of pain. I managed to get through qualifying and then had plenty of ice and anti-inflammatory cream overnight but nothing stopped it getting bigger. To be honest I think I might have broken it. I tried the first race but was battling far down the field and was having a few dodgy moments so I had to stop before doing more damage.”
Roger Harvey, Off-road Racing Co-ordinator, Honda Motor Europe:
“These are difficult times for us at the moment but this is the nature of the sport and we have to just accept the circumstances and try to find some suitable replacements where we can. However, today absolutely full credit to the excellent rides from Clement and Marvin; they did us proud and Marvin’s recovery from almost last in the first moto was splendid to watch, a really special effort.”
Courtesy of KTM
Max Nagl of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team scored a 4-7 result in the two MX1 motos in Agueda Portugal on Sunday to be fifth overall despite a resurgence of his recent hand injury.
Max Nagl, Red Bull KTM Factory, 5th:
“I had a good start in the first race but then I hurt my hand again, so I was pleased to hold onto fourth place because I did have some pain. I didn’t get away so well in the second race and I was about eighth or ninth at the start. I tried to push as much as I could but I couldn’t manage any better than seventh.”
Nagl, who said after qualifying Saturday that he was after two top five results but was satisfied with his overall fifth place and in picking up 32 championship points.
This week Max will stay in Portugal and have a scan on the hand. He will take a break from training and rest up ahead of next weekend’s GP in Bellpuig. Team boss Stefan Everts said Nagl had managed quite well considering the pain. “He rode much better here than he did last year,” Everts said, adding he still believed that Nagl could finish the season among the top riders.
KTM factory rider Jonathan Barragan of Team Silver Action also put in a heroic weekend riding with a painful, heavily strapped shoulder to protect damaged ligaments and still managed to scrape together 24 championship points and remain third in the standings. “I am happy that I am still third in the standings after this weekend because I had some restriction on my movement while riding. I did my best but I did have some pain to deal with.” Jonathan will also take some time out this week to rest up for his home race in Spain next Sunday.
Courtesy of Kawasaki
The Kawasaki riders were circulating together already from Saturday, as they finished seventh, eighth and ninth during the qualifying Heat. Third and seventh fastest in the practice sessions, Gregory Aranda was the quickest from the ‘Green’ pack at the start, and then forged a strong rhythm to contain David and Gareth, who lapped most of the duration in eighth and ninth places.
Gareth Swanepoel, Kawasaki MX1, 8th:
‘It’s currently going good, much better than Valkenswaard. On Saturday I had my best qualification, then I had a good night sleep and I pushed during the warm-up and took the fifth best time. I know that it’s just a warm-up but that’s always good to do that before the race; I was a little bit disappointed with my tenth place in the first moto, Coppins passed me and I was expecting better. The second one was a lot better, my start was not as good but I was able to come back to eighth and that’s nice to secure two good results; my lap times are closer and closer to the fastest guys; that’s the goal at the moment and we’ll continue to work hard this week before Spain.’
The track was rougher on Sunday. Greg had the best position on the gate and was the most proactive, moving to seventh and later sixth position in the first race, behind four former GP winners; seventh at mid-race distance Greg could not resist the attentions of Coppins and Barragan during the last circulations and claimed ninth spot. Twelfth at the start of Moto1 Gareth Swanepoel regained three positions, but later lost one place to Coppins to finish tenth followed by David Vuillemin who came back from fifteenth.
David got his best start of the season for the second race and finished the opening lap in fifth position behind Coppins and in front of Aranda. His young countryman passed him on the second circulation, while Gareth started to post fast times in order to recover from an average launch from the line. Greg and David resumed their close battle from last week’s French series, with the senior rider taking the advantage to secure a positive sixth position. During the last ten minutes Greg and Gareth tussled together and swapped their classification, as Gareth passed his young rival to claim his best MX1 GP result with eighth position overall, just in front of Greg.
David, Gareth and Gregory left Portugal eleventh, thirteenth and sixteenth respectively in the world championship standings, and hope to enter the top ten of the series next week in Spain.
David Vuillemin, 7th: ‘Nothing special about my first race, I had an average start and then didn’t get a good rhythm. For the first time this season I got a decent start in the second race. I was fifth and lost two positions when Leok and Cairoli passed me. I’m not used to be so far forward at the beginning, and it was pretty aggressive during the first laps. I then stayed too long behind Greg, and lost my concentration. When I passed him I was alone, and came back slowly to Leok but couldn’t attack him. I enjoyed the track when it became rough, now I need to ride the GPs as smooth as I do in the Elite championship.’
Women’s Motocross World Championship
Courtesy of KTM
Steffi Laier exacted perfect revenge on Sunday by completely dominating the second moto of the second round of the Women’s MX World Championship in Agueda, Portugal to win the race more than 14 seconds ahead of arch rival Livia Lancelot.
Steffi Laier, KTM, 8th:
“I had a perfect start in the second race. I tried to push hard to put some gap between me and the French girl (Livia Lancelot) and after five laps I had managed that so then I just concentrated on riding smoothly to the end of the race. This week I will train with Rui (Goncalves) in Portugal, then we will drive to Spain, where I am looking forward to racing in Bellpuig. I have never raced there before.”
Laier charged to the front at the start and was never really challenged to take the victory after the bitter disappointment of a disqualification on Saturday. The young German had looked certain for a second place finish in the first race on Saturday when she tangled with a slow back marker, crashed and was deemed to have received outside help to restart the bike after a protest from another team.
Laier’s eighth overall finish in Sunday’s GP therefore did not reflect her great performance on the track and she is now effectively in second place in the standings after two of seven rounds. American rider Ashley Fiolek, who is in second now returns to the USA for tests prior to her national championship. Meanwhile, Steffi gets another opportunity to vent her anger on the track next weekend in Bellpuig in Round Three and can go to Spain confident that here championship aspirations are still intact, despite her misfortune in the first moto here in Agueda.
Steffi, riding her first year as a full factory rider with the Red Bull KTM factory racer also drew praise from team boss Stefan Everts, who urged her to put the disappointment of Saturday’s qualification behind her, saying: “If you ride again like you did in race two you can still win the title!”
Portugal was also the debut ride in the Women’s World Championship series for American KTM-supported rider Sarah Whitmore who finished overall ninth, despite only having heard on Wednesday that she had been given the chance to compete and had flown to Europe on Thursday. “I had ridden in some national races in France before, but this was my first experience with the world championships, which is very professional here in Europe. The riders are taken more seriously than in the USA,” she added. “I can’t say I am happy with my ride but maybe it was because it was all very rushed to get here. I hope to do better in Spain races next weekend. It is very cool to be competing here and the level is very high.” Although Sarah will return to the USA after next weekend’s race, she hopes to be back in Europe for the other women’s world championship races.
Courtesy of Honda
The Portuguese round also saw the second grand prix for the Women’s World Championship. Reigning number one Livia Lancelot won her second race of the year and was chased onto the podium by AMA champion Ashley Fiolek. The American is now second in the standings with her CRF250R but returns to the US this week to prepare for her national campaign.
Ashley Fiolek, LS Honda:
“Yesterday was OK, I did not ride as well as I could have and felt much better and faster today and could stay closer to Livia. The track got a lot rougher today and I am more used to this kind of terrain. I would really have liked to stay here and compete in the next round but I need to get back and get ready for the AMA series that begins in a few weeks. I hope to be back for Sweden though.”
Courtesy of Yamaha
Agueda saw the second round of the Women’s World Championship but the weekend did not last long for Tarah Geiger as the American clipped a post and crashed on the first lap of the first moto and broke her right wrist.
Guarneri is now 3rd and 24 points from the lead in the world championship standings. Osborne is 7th and 2 points in front of Aubin, while Larrieu is 11th.
Round six takes place at the Bellpuig circuit next week for the Grand Prix of Catalunya.