News Report 20 July 2008
South Africa

2008 GP of South Africa, Nelspruit

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Nelspruit
att 20
07 / 20 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Aubin takes first podium as Cairoli suffers

Race

Yamaha Ricci Racing’s Nico Aubin scored his first top three finish of the 2008 FIM MX2-GP World Championship under typically deep blue skies for the Grand Prix of South Africa – the tenth round of fifteen in the FIM series – at the Nelspruit circuit, more than 300km north-east of Johannesburg. The Frenchman took 3rd position on the same day that reigning number one Antonio Cairoli sustained an injury to his left knee and failed to score points in a GP for the first time since the British Grand Prix in 2004; a run of 65 events.

The general reaction to the winding turns and many jumps of the new world championship circuit was extremely positive even if the dirt was a little unpredictable, varying between soft and rutted in places and hard and slick in others. Cairoli immediately gelled with the second of three new tracks on the 2008 schedule and collected his eighth consecutive Lovemytime qualification award for winning the second heat race and going to the gate in second position on Sunday.
Sadly number ‘222’ lasted no more than a few laps of the first moto as a near-crash around the fourth corner saw the Sicilian catch and turn his left leg, instantly injuring his knee. He tried to complete a few more circulations but then pulled into the pits with overwhelming pain. During the break between races he underwent an examination and treatment and was encouraged by the fact that there was little swelling. He attempted the second moto and started in second position but too small mistakes aggravated the joint further and he was again forced to withdraw.

Cairoli now plans to have a scan and possible surgery on a suspected broken meniscus this week. The procedure should not be complicated and there is a chance he could be back on his motorcycle for the Grand Prix of Belgium in a fortnight.
Aubin ensured that a YZ250F kept a place on the podium, and his first silverware of the season came largely thanks to his excellent start and second position in Moto1; the finish represented his second best result of the year having previously taken a race win in Italy. Aubin had actually been leading the sprint but was powerless to match pole-sitter Tommy Searle’s speed. In the second race he started in the top five and spent a lonely moto avoiding backmarkers and trying to close to the back of Shaun Simpson in 4th.

Aubin is the fourth Yamaha rider this season to scale a Grand Prix rostrum.
Ricci Racing team-mate Davide Guarneri continues to admirably fight the odds despite a weakened right knee (missing a ligament) and the Italian scored 8th and 15th positions for 11th overall. He hit his limb on the ground twice in the second moto which caused him to slow and miss out on a double top ten finish.

3C Racing’s Manuel Monni was 13th overall and rests 10th in the world championship while team-mate Deny Philippaerts – younger brother of David – scored points for the second time this season.

Cairoli’s championship plight now faces a test against the odds. The double world number one is third and 59 points away (more than two moto victories) from leader Tyla Rattray with five Grand Prix remaining. Aubin cut a few points to Simpson and fourth place in the ranking with 44 points the difference.

The eleventh round of the championship will take place through the sand of Lommel for the Grand Prix of Belgium in two weeks time. The hillside Loket circuit in the Czech Republic will host the thirteenth race seven days later.
Tony Cairoli, Yamaha Red Bull De Carli, DNF:

“I am really disappointed. I liked the track yesterday and had some decent speed. I didn’t have a good start in the first moto and tried to pass some riders in the beginning but it was not easy because the track was slippery from the watering. Tyla and Tommy were ahead so I knew I had to gain ground fast. I went to pass Guarneri but he came wide and cut my line. The bike went sideways down the hill and I put out my foot and felt something pull in my knee. I had so much pain that I had to stop. My doctor made a really good job in the break so I tried to start the second moto and came out of the gate in second place. The knee was not inflamed and not too painful but I was not used to the track and I got one set of bumps wrong and felt the knee react. Tommy passed me and I was starting to catch him when I over-jumped and then had shots of pain, which ended my race.
The plan now is to have some surgery this week and I really hope I can come back for Lommel. The doctor thinks the ligaments are OK, just maybe stretched a little bit but the meniscus might be broken. With the operation we have planned he said I might be able to ride after one week. The championship looks difficult now and Tommy and Tyla have worked hard to be going for the title. I want to win when I come back and I hope it will be as soon as possible.”

Nico Aubin, Yamaha Ricci Racing, 3rd:

“I am happy but it is a shame I had to wait ten Grand Prix for my first podium. I have had a few problems getting myself up to speed but I had two weeks to get my head together before this Grand Prix and felt better on the bike. The track is very good and I enjoyed the ground and the jumps. I made a great start in the first moto and tried to push, however Tyla and Tommy are very fast at the moment and I have not had too much time leading a race and could not hold the pace until the end. The results were not bad today and a big improvement on the last GPs. I hope this will be a new beginning for me, we go to Lommel next and I like the sand. I would like a top five there before we go to Loket. I want to finish the season well for my confidence and for the team.”

Davide Guarneri, Yamaha Ricci Racing, 11th:

“I am a little annoyed because I was faster on Saturday but could not take the positions today; overall it was a hard GP for me physically. I started well in the first moto but the track was so difficult for me. There were many ruts in the corners and it was tough for my knee. I tried to push but stayed in sixth for most of the race. Towards the end I felt tired because I cannot stand up on the bike for too long. I started OK in the second moto and was going for tenth when I hit my leg quite hard twice on the ground and had to slow down because of pain. I don’t know what really happened with Antonio. On the fourth corner there were many riders together. I went for the inside line but it brought me out on the outside, I did not see him and touched his bike.”