Yamaha 2nd and 3rd in season opener


Two Yamaha YZ125 riders stood proudly on the winner¹s podium after an impressive display in round one of the 125cc Motocross World Championships today. Briton, Carl Nunn and Claudio Federici of Italy finished second and third respectively at the season opener in Verneuil Sur Avre, France. The winner was Alessio Chiodi who scored wins in both races.

Team De Carli Yamaha rider Claudio Federici signalled his intention of mounting a serious challenge for the 1999 125cc World Motocross title with a brilliant 1-2 result on board the YZ125 in Cingoli today. His performance at the Italian GP, second round of the Championship, made him joint top points scorer alongside Alessio Chiodi and he revelled in the adulation shown to him by his ecstatic home fans.

The whole weekend was a tremendous success for the De Carli Yamahas, with Federici and Erik Camerlengo both topping their respective qualifiying groups on Saturday. Team-mate Luca Cherubini wasn't far behind in 5th place to increase the smiles in the De Carli camp. Delighted team manager Claudio De Carli admitted, 'We have been working very hard on the bike since the first race in France two weeks ago. There we could see where we stood in comparison with the other teams. We reduced the weight of the bike and adjusted the ignition system to help our riders get better starts and the hard work has definetely paid off."

Federici was understandly delighted at securing pole position, stating ' I have changed my riding style a little this year and I feel completely in unison with my Yamaha. I proved in France that I was the fittest rider out there and today I showed I can also be the fastest!.' While the Italian riders dominated the qualifying fight, Yamaha UK rider Carl Nunn had to be satisfied with 7th best time in his qualifying group. 'I never really got on the pace.' he admitted.

The first moto turned out to be a great win for Federici. Staring second, he maintained good early race form before flying passed reigning champion, Chiodi, on lap five. From that point on he was never troubled, finishing more than thirteen seconds ahead at the flag .'Fantastic! That proves that we can now start well!' said the exalted Federici. 'I felt confident enough to pass Chiodi early on when he went a little wide approaching a corner. I took the opportunity, but he made it difficult for me at first. It was very slippery after the rain before the race, so I had to create enough of an advantage in case I made a slip later. Fortunately I didn't.'

Team mate Cherubini also started well and was initially 3rd, before dropping back to 7th place. Interestingly, he cited his military service as part of the problem. ' Because I have to do my military service this year, I have had little time to get fit and really felt it during the last fifteen minutes of the race.' Erik Camerlengo didn't start so well and his race was soon over, suffering torn finger ligaments in a painful crash. ' I fell at the jump where the track crosses the road because it was so slippery,' he said ruefully. Carl Nunn was soon to retire as well, another victim of the treacherous conditions. Despite damaging his left shoulder in the fall, he tried to continue but the pain was too intense. ' I have had an X-ray and nothing is broken, but I am definitely out of race two,' said a frustrated Briton.

More rain made the second moto even more hazardous, but three of the four remaining factory supported Yamahas overcame the conditions by leading on the first lap! Cherubini hole shot, but was then stalled at turn two letting the whole pack past. Despite this disaster, he bravely fought back to 12th place by race-end. Camerlengo inherited the lead from his stricken team-mate, but slipped to 6th by the end of the first lap. 'I had an injection in my hand and it felt okay until the first jump. I was in agony so I knew I would have to slow down to finish.' He did so, in a brave 7th place. Paul Malin then led until the end of the lap but gradually slipped back to 11th at the flag.

Federici, the only Yamaha rider not to have had a share of the lead on the first lap, was in imperious form again. ' I followed Chiodi past Brown on the third lap and I knew in the conditions I had to strike fast. Chiodi pushed me very hard for half the race, but then I started to move away again. I then lost concentration and had a couple of small falls in the same place on consecutive laps.Tthat cost me another race win, but I am delighted with second nevertheless.' said the happy Italian.