Stefan Everts and Antonio Carioli new leaders
The Grand Prix of Portugal could be one of the first twists in the long MX1 and MX2 World Championship campaign as many race incidents and crashes stopped some of the favourites of the series this afternoon. Belgian Stefan Everts and Italian Antonio Cairoli won the event, and will arrive in Namur (Begium) in two weeks with the red number plate.
More rain on Sunday morning played havoc with the Portuguese track but the showers eased before mid-day as the sun arrived later for the Grand Prix. The rainfall had caused the track to be very rough and challenging, probably one of the most demanding of the season and a couple of riders saw their ambitions dented in Portugal.
Stefan Everts scored his 81st Grand Prix win in Agueda with a first and a third position. Taking two excellent starts Stefan led the first race from the beginning and obtained his first holeshot for an age in the second heat. He had a small crash while leading the second moto and finished only third behind Mickael Pichon and Joshua Coppins, but captured the overall to retain the red plate. With two strong rides in both motos (fourth and second) Joshua Coppins claimed his first GP podium this season, and shared it with Everts and his team-mate Jussi-Pekka Vehvilainen. Steve Ramon finished fourth, followed by Paul Cooper and Mickael Pichon. Previous leader of the championship the Frenchman retired in the first heat (carburetion problem) as well as Joel Smets (he lost a fuel hose and couldn’t finish the race) while Spanish winner Ben Townley struggled with several crashes and got his worst result of the first three GPs. Pichon collected the win in the second race and countryman Luigi Seguy took advantage of a good start to finish runner-up in the first sprint.
Italian Antonio Cairoli confirmed that he enjoyed riding in sand as well as mud! In both races he took the lead in the opening lap and made a strong gap over his opponents to collect his first ever double win. He is now leading the MX2 Championship, ahead of fellow countryman Alessio Chiodi; twice fourth, Chicco had a serious crash in the last heat but finished the race and saved another podium. Runner-up in the first moto Tyla Rattray was involved with Mickael Maschio in a crash at the second start and dislocated his left shoulder; Cedric Melotte and Andrew McFarlane both crashed several times and only scored a few points. Their misfortunes helped Billy Mackenzie, Anthony Boissière and Christophe Pourcel to get their best overall GP result.
Stefan Everts: “The first race was great, I really enjoyed it and could pass Jussi Pekka Vehvilainen straight away to lead the entire race. In the second heat I finally had the holeshot, I was looking for it a long time and we did a good job with the team on the bike. I made a small mistake later and it cost me some places, then I passed back Joel Smets and tried to catch Josh Coppins but he was riding really fast and I had trouble with some lappers. I’m really happy with my results, it’s good for the championship. I want to thank everybody in my team and looks to get my 82nd win in Namur.”
Antonio Cairoli: “I will remember this race for a long time, because it’s my first double win. Even if the track was ruined with the rain I really enjoyed it, I like sand and mud. I knew that I could do well here, because I was sure to have good starts. In the second heat Chicco got the holeshot and I was looking to overtake him; he left a small space and I passed him on a double jump, it was close but we didn’t touch each other. The next GP is in Belgium. It will be like a home GP for me because for two years now I have been based there. I won my first GP in Namur and I will do my best there, my goal is to keep the red plate as long as possible.”
Information and results on www.motocrossmx1.com, the official website of the Motocross World Championships.
Info Mediapress, photo Copyright Yamaha DeCarli Racing