Pichon and Gundersen trouble the Belgium squad


Sun and nice temperature met the World Championship on Saturday in Valkenswaard to celebrate the venue of the Motocross stars on a re-designed track. “The track has changed but is till really fast” said Stefan Everts. ”They add some jumps, modified some corners, created two different lines on some parts but it will be difficult to pass during the races” he added, confirming the general opinion of the riders who race there the Dutch grand prix every year since a long time.

Considered as the “local” riders due to the absence of any fast Dutch riders, the Belgium squad was pushing hard during the qualifying session and got six of the eight best positions on the starting grid of the event. Fourth last year here (his best ever GP result) Kevin Strijbos got the fastest time at mid session on his factory Suzuki, and could got his first pole position as he improved his time later with a lap under 1’53. But unfortunately for the young Belgium rider, Pichon was also chasing the pole, one of his favourite exercises… Doing an incredible 1’51”823, the winner of the last 2004 GP got his third pole position of the season, more than one second ahead of his rivals. “I was happy with my first fast lap, and tried to improve it but I never thought it was possible to go under 1.52” said Pichon. “It was the perfect lap you can dream sometimes, and when I saw the result I was sure that nobody could beat me. Honestly I like this track; the sand is not so soft and deep, and that’s good for me even if this round and the next one in the Netherlands (Lichtenvoorde) could be the more difficult of the season for me” added the Honda rider. Norwegian Kenneth Gundersen was with Pichon the unique foreigner to disturb the Belgium riders; with the third time behind Pichon and Strijbos, Kenneth confirmed his strong beginning of season, beating Stefan Everts, Cédric Melotte, Joel Smets, Ken De Dijcker and Steve Ramon.

The first MX2 qualifying race was surprising as Stephen Sword challenged Ben Townley during most of the time, finishing only one second behind the New Zealander. Rattray got the holeshot but Townley took the lead in the opening lap, and then saw Sword putting pressure on him… Ben finally won, but Stephen proved that he has a new confidence after his great results in the first three GP’s. James Dobb and Mickael Maschio involved in a first turn pile-up didn’t qualified, while Italian Christian Stevanini involved in this crash was taken to the hospital with a suspected damaged shoulder. Marc de Reuver offered to KTM another one win in the second qualifying race; Marc was only third at the beginning of the race, and took the lead in the last minutes. “I crashed pretty hard on my head in the free practice session, and I had pain to my neck and my head during the heat. It took a few laps to get confidence again in my bike and my lines, and I took my time to pass Italians Alessio Chiodi and Antonio Cairoli” said the Dutch star. During the last chance qualifying session James Dobb qualified easily with the fastest lap, while Mickael Maschio got the last qualifying spot with a sixth position.

Tomorrow the MX2 races are scheduled at 12.05 and 15.05, and the MX1 at 13.05 and 16.05.

For more info and results check the official web site of the Motocross World Championships: www.motocrossMX1.com


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