Melotte wins in Zolder
Cédric Melotte (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) took a surprising overall victory on the opening round of the Motocross Grand Prix World Championship at Zolder, Belgium today. The 25-year old displayed a strong race strategy and came home second in the first race and won the second. Seven-time world champion Stefan Everts fought hard to overcome his injuries and scored two solid fifth places. Melotte leads the provisional standings with 47 points, Everts is fourth with 32 points.
Home rider Joël Smets (Suzuki) grabbed the holeshot, but Mickael Pichon took the lead on the opening lap. However Pichon could not pull away with Strijbos, Jorgensen, Cooper and Melotte on his tail. Stefan Everts was closing in on the leading five after a mediocre start. However Everts’ comeback abruptly ended when he crashed in the rhythm section. “After the crash I noticed my handlebars being bent, so I had to be even more careful because the track was so rough,” said Everts. The YZ450FM mounted rider bounced back from eighteenth after his crash to finish fifth. Team mate Cédric Melotte went down after 10 minutes into the race, lying fourth. “I was riding tensed and suffered some arm pump, picking up after my crash was actually a good thing. I regained my breath and I had the time to choose my lines and build up my pace.” Melotte closed in on Jorgensen and Pichon and managed to pass them both to claim second behind Steve Ramon.
Stefan Everts had another bad start in the second race hurting his right thumb in a first corner pile-up. Cédric Melotte was fifth after the opening lap, and quickly moved into second behind Joshua Coppins. Coppins’ lead of almost 7 seconds droppd dramatically lap after lap and the battle went in favour of Melotte, who easily made the pass on the outside of a right-hander. The winner of last year’s 650 GP in Namur kept his cool and controlled the race to claim a convincing first GP win in the MX1 class. Coppins finished second, in front of Strijbos and Ramon.Everts showed his determination to add another fifth to his day-scoreboard after a strong back from eighteenth position.
The second round of the championship takes place at Bellpuig in Spain next weekend.
Cédric Melotte (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) – first
“I used a lot of energy in the first race to pass Jorgensen and Pichon, but I was happy with second after I made a small crash. The second race was just perfect. I thought I had moved into the lead too early when I passed Coppins but I resisted the pressure. Winning here was a big surprise for me. I had a little bit of luck on my side but this is the best possible motivation for the rest of the season. My ambitions of finishing top seven or top five every race have not changed. Of course I will not hesistate if I can produce some more surprises!”
Stefan Everts (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) – fourth
”I am quite happy with my performance today considering my condition. Two fifth places at the opening GP are more than I hoped for with my rib injury sustained last week. Actually I felt no pain when riding, and I messed up my chances today with two bad starts. I’m very happy for the team that Cédric had such a good ride. His result was not exactly a surprise to me, he had been riding well in all pre-season races.”