News Report 17 September 2006

2006 GP of Ernée, France

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09 / 17 / 2006
Time to be confirmed

Cairoli wins French GP but hands Championship title to Pourcel


The MX2 Grand Prix of France at Ernee was won by De Carli Yamaha rider Antonio Cairoli with his second double triumph of the year and third GP success. While it completed a pleasant double victory for Yamaha at the final GP of the season, The 2005 World Champion had to settle for second in 2006 .

Cairoli led from first corner to the chequered flag for a superior opening moto victory ahead of Christophe Pourcel who was cheered on by the voluminous French public. At one stage it looked as though the Kawasaki rider might be able to challenge the De Carli representative but a spurt from Cairoli in the final laps was enough for him to keep control over a decreasing margin.
In the second race an exciting battle raged for two laps between the two protagonists. If Cairoli won again he would need Pourcel to fail to score and he would retain his World Championship. For a brief moment there was hope when Pourcel crashed out of the lead and down to fifth position. Cairoli assumed control ahead of Marc de Reuver and aced a set of laps in which he looked fast, comfortable and aggressive. Pourcel would finish the race however leaving the Sicilian second by 18 points. Cairoli ends the season as the rider with highest number of moto victories in the class with 12.
Billy Mackenzie was the next best Yamaha rider in ninth position and his progress for a top five finish in the second moto was hindered by a bent gear lever that necessitated a visit to the pits. The Scot fought back hard to capture twelfth. Alessio Chiodi was eleventh but lacking race fitness after missing the last three Grand Prix. Ricci Racing team-mate Kenneth Gundersen could not get a good feeling on the track and only registered points in Moto one.

Six riders won MX2 Grand Prix in 2006 and aside from Cairoli with three triumphs, Billy Mackenzie was the other YZ250F pilot to mount the highest step of the rostrum with his second career victory at the Sugo circuit in Japan. The pair also collected eight fastest laps between them.

Mackenzie is the next highest placed Yamaha representative in the World Champonship with ninth, thanks partially to one GP win. The Bike it Yamaha Dixon Racing rider was handicapped by six non-scores however.

Kenneth Gundersen has finished thirteenth and took a top three result with third at Zolder in Belgium but also picked up nine DNFs. Alessio Chiodi was right in front of him in twelfth and a decent season was ruined at round five when a fast practice crash led to a damaged knee. A broken finger added to his woes and meant four Grand Prix out of action. The third Ricci Racing rider Davide Guarneri has ended a troubled campaign in 16th.

Cairoli, Mackenzie and Gundersen will also be on Motocross of Nations duty at Matterley Basin in seven days time.
Antonio Cairoli, De Carli Yamaha:
“I am happy to end the year like this but not so pleased with how I started the Championship because some mistakes cost me the title. I lost too many points at the beginning. I tried to put pressure on Christophe today. He crashed but his bike didn’t break so he was able to finish the race. I am happy with the GP however because the Yamaha worked really well and I had a good feeling on the track. I will start next MX2 season with more conviction and I want to win back the title for Yamaha and me next year for sure.”
Kenneth Gundersen, Ricci Racing:
“I had two bad starts and wasn’t riding well. I want to forget this year, go away and work hard and try to do better next season. There have been too many mistakes in the second half of the season. There has been some bad luck but I have also made some errors. One small positive is finishing without any big injury.”

Alessio Chiodi, Ricci Racing:
“I made my first race last weekend at the Italian Championship but my hand was sleeping out there over the jumps and I did not have much strength. My feeling on the bike was missing because I have not been able to train during the week. The season started well but I had some bad luck in Teutschenthal and then had the knee injury in Japan so it has not turned out well.”