News Report 21 May 2006

2006 GP of Sugo, Japan

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3737 m
att 17400
05 / 21 / 2006
Time to be confirmed

Mackenzie repeats Japanese success at Sugo


Bike-it Yamaha UK Dixon Racing rider Billy Mackenzie remains undefeated at the Japanese Sugo circuit as the Scot went 1-3 on his YZ250FM in the two MX2 motos to claim his second career Grand Prix success and Yamaha’s first of 2006. The second race was won by World Champion Antonio Cairoli to give manufacturer a perfect 4-from-4 score at their home event.
The track was dry, bumpy and technical as the organisers at the Sugo circuit again excelled in presenting a tough and interesting layout for the riders. The warm conditions aided towards a hard day’s work for the stars of the MX2 class as 17, 400 spectators looked on.

22 year old Mackenzie, who celebrated his maiden triumph at Sugo in 2005, passed Yamaha Team Ricci’s Kenneth Gundersen on the second lap of the first race to control the rest of the pack. Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel was closing at one stage but ‘Mac’ kept a steady three second advantage to notch his first 25 point haul of the season and the fourth of his career.
Cairoli had ended the first lap in the lead but crashed in an incident that also involved Marc de Reuver. The Italian had to fight hard to gain fourth place while Gundersen was not content with the set-up on his machine and crossed the finish line in ninth, taking 11th later in the day for a lacklustre eigth overall.

Cairoli was strong off the start in the second moto and his holeshot was swiftly converted into a sizzling series of laps that dragged him away from Mackenzie and the pursuing de Reuver. Mackenzie was demoted to third from that position he kept a small distance over Gareth Swanepoel to ensure overall victory. Cairoli was alone at the front and his win marked the third of the season and fifth from ten motos for Yamaha.
Yamaha Team Ricci’s Alessio Chiodi struggled through the weekend after crashing and injuring his right knee during the second practice session. The Italian was taken for a scan that revealed that nothing was broken but the former Champion was in a lot of pain. He manfully tried to complete the qualification heat but withdrew after a few laps. Thanks to only 30 riders contesting the MX2 class Chiodi was also able to discount the Last Chance session and took to the gate in last place to bravely aim for some points. He managed to score 5 for 16th in race one and repeated the position in race two despite a small spill just before the finish line.

The World Championship picture now looks more interesting as series leader Tyla Rattray crashed and could not pick up any points from Moto2. Cairoli is currently fourth and 32 points behind new number one Christophe Pourcel while Mackenzie is only 12 points behind his Yamaha compatriot in fifth.

The teams and riders now start the long journey back to Europe before beginning to prepare for the Grand Prix of Bulgaria, due to take place at the Sevlievo circuit in two weeks.
Billy Mackenzie, Bike-it Yamaha UK Dixon Racing:
“I always like coming to Japan! To leave here with a win is incredible and everything that I could have asked for. We have been working hard on the bike and we had some new parts supplied by Rinaldi this weekend and they really helped. The bike had a little bit more bottom-end which is what I needed. The track was really nice. I have to get my starts sorted but when that happens I’m sure I will be upfront more often. Last year I had some good races but also some bad ones so I have been working on being more consistent this season. There are still many GP's left and I am confident that we can move up the championship standings still.”

Antonio Cairoli, Team Yamaha De Carli:
“We changed the bike last week and I practiced my starts and it really helped today. I took the holeshot twice and the situation is better now off the line. In the first moto Marc passed me after the whoops for the lead but I stayed close to him and when he went down after hitting some wet mud I fell also. I was fast but I lost a lot of time because I crashed again and it meant that I was always fighting back. Now I must work a little bit more on my condition and hope for some more luck!”

Alessio Chiodi, Yamaha Team Ricci:
“I had some bad luck yesterday because I had a good feeling with the track in practice but I crashed in next session when I lost the rear end of the bike. I’m not sure if it was my mistake but right afterwards my knee was hurting so much I was sure something was broken. The doctor said the bone was OK but now I need to get the ligaments checked out. Ten points today is better than nothing and a big injury.”

Kenneth Gundersen, Yamaha Team Ricci:
“It was a hard day. In the first race I had a good start and was leading for a lap or two but then I crashed and finished ninth. In the last race I had a really bad start and I was struggling. We had some set-up problems. It wasn’t a good weekend for me and will hopefully be better next time.”