News Report 27 April 2008

2008 GP of Portugal, Agueda

View results Track information
1630 m
att 18
04 / 27 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Philippaerts new series leader after double podium in Portugal


A sun-blessed and roasting Grand Prix of Portugal at the stunning Agueda circuit was the perfect remedy for the FIM Motocross World Championship after the sea of rain and mud that washed out the Spanish visit last weekend. The splendid stage for round three of fifteen, south of the city of Porto, witnessed the Yamaha Monster Motocross Team score a double podium result with David Philippaerts finishing second and Josh Coppins third on the works YZ450FMs.

Philippaerts won a moto and was second in the other race, while Coppins seized his first silverware of the season after a thrilling move past champion Steve Ramon for third spot on the final corner of the last lap. On the podium Philippaerts picked up the red-plate to signify his new status as MX1-GP championship leader for the first time. He is also the first Italian to sit at the top of the points table since the inception of the MX1-GP class in 2004.
The dry circuit provided a technical test for the riders with the combinations of jumps and alternate line options meaning that the ‘perfect’ lap was tough to find and mistakes were heavily punished by the high pace.

Philippaerts suffered a fast crash on Saturday that left the Italian with a sore back and lack of sensation in his arms during the qualification practice. He was still a bit stiff Sunday morning but put aside any discomfort to remain one of the protagonists in the first moto. After hunting down Billy Mackenzie and taking the lead on the seventh lap of twenty-one the 24 year old kept a good rhythm to retain control of the race until the chequered flag. It was his first moto success for the team and his first set of ’25’ points since the Grand Prix of Belgium last August.
In Moto2 the Italian did not have the best first lap and had to work hard from fifth position to take advantage of another error by Mackenzie and also a crash by Jonathan Barragan to rise to second place. Although he tied on points with overall winner Sebastien Pourcel, the second moto ranking determined the final standing. It was the second consecutive runner-up position for Philippaerts.

Josh Coppins tried a new rear suspension set-up on Saturday as well as some experimentation with different Pirelli tyres. The New Zealander was unable to match the pace of his peers at the start of both motos (even though he exited the gate in the top five both times) but was easily one of the strongest riders at the end of the races. In the first he pushed Mackenzie hard to take fifth but it was his determination and dogged pursuit of the lagging Ramon in the final two laps of the second sprint that really gave an indication of the Kiwi’s ‘steel’.
Closing down some four seconds to the back of the Belgian, Coppins took the fight for third right to the last corner where he cut tighter and snatched the position – and the last podium spot – by four tenths of a second. The result was a message but the manner in which he delivered it was equally devastating, that Coppins – who missed five weeks of riding through two broken twos on his right foot prior to the start of the campaign – is hungry for the title.
The championship standings now make good reading for the team. Philippaerts holds a 6 point gap over Ramon while Coppins is third and just 19 behind. Yamaha are second in the manufacturer’s standings by 6 points.

The Yamaha Monster Motocross Team now travel back to their Italian base near Parma for several days and a free weekend before packing up and heading east across to Europe to the impressive Sevlievo circuit and the Grand Prix of Bulgaria. The meeting will precede the squad’s home round at Mantova seven days later.
David Philippaerts, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team: 2nd

“I am really happy to have the red plate because this is the first time for me. The first moto was unbelievable. My start was pretty average but I passed Mackenzie and Barragan and found some effective lines. When Sebastien came near in the last moments I looked to pull another second on him and controlled it until the end. I started well in the second moto but on the second corner my line meant that I had to be careful and lost some time, which let Sebastien and Mackenzie escape. It was a long race so I did not want to go crazy at the beginning and also the track was not easy. I knew the others would slow their pace by the end so I wanted to be strong the whole distance. My aim now is to try and stay in the top five each GP and this will be good for the championship.”

Josh Coppins, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team: 3rd

“It was an exciting end to the Grand Prix and one that even I did not expect. I could see that Steve was fading and, of course, after last year I always like to pass Steve, so I put in that extra effort. He went wide in the last corner and I could not believe that. My eyes lit-up and I made the pass.
We tried a new rear shock during Saturday which was a bit softer and suited me better. We also tested some tyres with a different compound moose and also sliced some of the nobs on the rubber. I think we had a pretty good set-up so I was happy with the bike. The extra options the team provided made things even better, which I was surprised about.
It was finally nice to have a real race; a race where the best rider wins instead of the terrain being good for some or just being a lottery. Today it was Pourcel but it was a GP where the degree of racing fitness and skill comes into it and that was really positive.
It has been a tough season for me so far with a few ‘downs’. I don’t quite have the speed at the moment, especially at the start of the race; all I have is the consistency in the laps I make. I have to be patient, which is hard because I am not a patient person! With sixth, fourth and third things have gone well but you always want better. Everyone around me has been really supportive and I am sure I will get up to a higher level very soon. I was one of the strongest out there at the end, and this makes me proud.”

Mino Raspanti, Racing Manager, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team:

“I really great Grand Prix for us; to have both riders on the podium is really good. They continue to work hard and perform well. David’s win was deserved I am very happy for Josh also. These are some difficult moments for him but he is trying so hard. David and Josh are both happy with the bikes and Josh more so after we made a small change with the shock. We will work now and look ahead to Bulgaria, and Mantova the week after.”