Everts triumphs in battle of the champions
RaceYamaha L&M Motocross Team rider Stefan Everts held off a determined last lap charge from Mickael Pichon (Suzuki) to win his third consecutive Motocross GP and complete his second double victory of the season.
The two world champions were a class above the rest of the field at the at the rugged Kärntenring in southern Austria, finishing over 52 seconds ahead of third placed Gordon Crockard (Honda).
Last years 250 champion Pichon led the opening laps on his two-stroke machine, but Everts, the most successful rider of all time with six world titles and 59 GP wins, made his move on lap six with an inspired pass in the final turn similar to that which brought him victory at last year's event on this track.
Pichon refused to give up without a fight, even moving ahead again after 25 minutes. But Everts, the reigning 500cc world champion, and his four-stroke YZ450FM were up to the task. He forced his way to the front again before the end of the lap and repulsed his rival's final assault in his usual impressive style.
The victory finished a perfect weekend for the Belgian rider. Earlier in the day he won the 125 race on his Yamaha YZ250F and he started both events from pole position.
Everts team-mate Marnicq Bervoets finished seventh after being held up mid-pack in the opening laps, while Italian rider Claudio Federici (Yamaha Team De Carli) rode hard to finish ninth on his YZ450F after being hampered by a first lap tumble.
Everts win moves him up to second place in the standings, just eight points behind Pichon with seven rounds of the 13 race championship remaining. Federici maintains his fifth place in the championship with Bervoets moving up two places to 12th.
Stefan Everts (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) - first
I went into this race full of confidence even though I don't really like this type of track too much. Bulgaria was probably one of my best races for several years and I know now that I am right back at my best and capable of beating anyone. But I also know that I must not get overconfident; every weekend is new, and the serious accident to Pit Beirer two weeks ago reminded us all that anything can happen.
I got a good start and it was soon down to just me and Pichon. Mickael was fast and I knew he would follow my lines when I passed him, but when the chance came I decided to take the lead. Later in the race he was able to surprise me and retake the lead, but I hit back immediately and got in front again before the end of the lap. He came strong again at the end, but I could still hold him. I'm on a good roll at the moment and am confident in both my bike and myself that we can keep on winning.
Marnicq Bervoets (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) seventh
My start was not fantastic but at least I was top ten and it only took me a few laps to move up to sixth. The leaders were gone, but I was gradually closing on Atsuta and expected to be able to pass him near the end. But I made a couple of mistakes 10 minutes from the end, lost my rhythm and felt a little tired so I didn't quite have the speed to resist when Smets attacked. Still, that was one of my best races for some time, a good basis for the next races.
Claudio Federici (Yamaha Team De Carli) - ninth
I got another great start only to slip off on the first lap. My speed was nothing special today, but for sure I was fast enough to have been top six but for the crash. By the time I got to ninth all of the other top ten riders were going at a good speed and that was as high as I could go.