News Report 6 April 2008
Netherlands

2008 GP of Netherlands, Valkenswaard

View results Track information
Valkenswaard
1870 m
att 26
04 / 06 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Top six finishes for YMMT pair

Race

The opening Grand Prix of the 2008 FIM MX1-GP World Championship has been a busy but positive outing for the Yamaha Monster Motocross Team as David Philippaerts and Josh Coppins took fifth and sixth positions respectively through the deep, dark and technically challenging sand at the Eurocircuit in Valkenswaard today.

After unveiling the new all-black liveries for the YZ450FMs in front of an extravagant fire display on Friday evening for a group of international media, (a gallery of images can be seen on www.yamaha-racing.com) Philippaerts and Coppins encountered cold, rainy conditions and negotiated a flooded and heavily rutted track on Saturday. After working their way through two free practice sessions the Italian was able to set the third fastest time while Coppins – using padding in his boot to protect his damaged toes and feeling somewhat unprepared after spending more than two weeks inactive – was content with eighth place in the gate.
Sunshine blessed the Grand Prix of the Netherlands, the first round of fifteen in the 2008 campaign, but a cold wind was also present and the terrain provided a very physical test over the two 35 minute and 2 lap motos.

In the first race Philippaerts started well and was running as high as second before he survived a big ‘moment’ that caused him to drop to fourth behind Coppins who was steadily making consistent laps and producing an excellent performance in the conditions. The two team-mates circulated together on the works YZ450FMs for several laps until Philippaerts tried an audacious manoeuvre to grab third and clipped the side of Coppins in the process, causing the Kiwi to briefly fall to sixth. Philippaerts’ moto was not quite finished as he was slowed by a backmarker on the last two laps and Steve Ramon was able to pounce and obtain third.
The eventful first race was followed by calmer set of laps for Moto2 as Ken de Dycker won once more and Coppins and Philippaerts were again together for a long periods. Towards the end of the duration the 24 year old moved past to take sixth leaving a satisfied Coppins in seventh.

The overall standing also formulates the early championship table and Philippaerts lies just 5 points from second while Coppins is 21 points from leader De Dycker.

Utag Yamaha.com’s Kenneth Gundersen was dealt a hard blow on Saturday after an awkward landing on the sand caused the Norwegian to damage his left knee. The 26 year old flew back to Scandinavia on Sunday for further examination on a suspected ruptured ligament. An initial x-ray at the track revealed a chipped piece of bone in the joint but it is still not clear whether it is the rear or frontal ligament at this stage.

Van Beers Yamaha's Aigar Leok was eleventh overall on the YZ450F with finishes of twelfth and tenth.

The world championship will head south through Europe to the Bellpuig circuit in Catalunya for the Grand Prix of Spain in two weeks time.
David Philippaerts, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team, 5th:
“I have to say that I am happy. For my first GP I had good speed and also a nice feeling on the bike. The first moto was not great because I made some small mistakes and was quite nervous but I was glad to see that I could go at the front. In one corner I almost crashed and was completely off the side of the bike; that caused me to lose a lot of time. I pushed hard again but had a problem with my goggles and that was a hassle with the sand. It was because of this I hit with Josh. I wanted to go on the outside but I ran out of room. It was not something I meant to do and just one of those racing incidents. I wanted third position but Pyrhonen blocked me and I lost speed, so Ramon passed me starting the last lap. I was frustrated by this but after I calmed down I was actually content because my goal had been top five and I had taken fourth. In the second heat I started well but lost a lot of positions by getting blocked in the second corner. I came up behind Josh and it took a lot of energy to pass him. I was being extra careful because I did not want to touch again. When I got through I was physically finished. I am happy with the points I took this weekend. I am not far from second place and the championship has started quite well for me.”

Josh Coppins, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team, 6th:
“I did not feel comfortable coming to this GP. I pride myself on being one of the best prepared and hardest working riders out there and the difficult part for me was arriving to this race knowing that I wasn’t ready and hadn’t done the work; for me that was unacceptable but I had no choice because of the injury. If you had told me at the team launch if I could have sixth position overall on Sunday then I would have taken that result with both hands, especially here in the sand. You know that if you are sitting looking at the bones sticking out of your feet then you have something serious, so to be able to be here and have those finishes is great.
I was disappointed after the collision with David in the first moto. I did not have the energy to recover from that. I saw Mackenzie, David and Nagl fighting ahead and I thought ‘you just get on with it!’. I was riding my own pace and staying out of trouble. I lost five points there, but anyway, you have to accept these things. Spain should be easier in two weeks and by the time we get to Portugal I should be near the level I want to be.”

Massimo Raspanti, Team Manager:
“For Josh I am really happy, until one week ago we did not know if he would race or not. He could have had third and the collision with David was an unfortunate incident. The second moto was also positive for him and to be honest it is a little bit like a win because he has hardly ridden in the last three weeks. David was quite nervous in the first moto and seemed to tire when he passed Josh but it was not a bad GP for him. I think the next few tracks will be better for both riders and we will be looking at the top three in Spain.”

Kenneth Gundersen, UTag Yamaha.com:
“Obviously I am so disappointed but I have experienced things like this before to know that it is part of racing and you have to accept it. I did not even crash, I just landed at an angle but I knew straight away that something was wrong. The x-ray shows some damage but I don’t know how bad it is yet. If it is only the back ligament then this will not be such a disaster.”