News Report 18 May 2008

2008 GP of Italy, Mantova

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Mantova, Italy
1660 m
att 29
05 / 18 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Philippaerts third after impressive Italian GP charge


Yamaha Monster Motocross Team’s David Philippaerts was not able to win his home Grand Prix at a wet Mantova circuit but certainly captured the admiration and attention of the 29,000 spectators with a captivating flight from last position to fifth spot in the first moto. The performance on his YZ450FM was backed-up by a strong second place in the following race to allow the series leader to tread the third step of the podium and increase his advantage in the standings even further. Josh Coppins was content with sixth position overall.

Usually a safe bet for reliable weather the Italian round of the series, on this occasion hosting the fifth round of fifteen in the 2008 FIM MX1-GP World Championship, was wet and overcast for both days. Frequent light rain tested the resolve of the sandy all-weather venue and the Monster Energy-backed riders had to contend with both dry and wet motos during Sunday. A slippery, rough and rutted terrain provided a formidable prospect.
Philippaerts, winner of the Starcross International here in February - an event that represented his race debut for the team - was just over half a second from his first pole position on Saturday but second place still marked his best qualification performance in MX1-GP. Coppins had a difficult time on the first day. Set-up issues caused him to lose track time and then he was unable to post a satisfactory lap in qualification. The New Zealander was unable not to get into a groove with the track, of which he openly professes a dislike, but also admitted that the slower, more technical conditions thanks to the rain were more to his benefit. Nevertheless he went to the gate in sixteenth.

Considering his handicap Coppins produced two excellent starts. The 31 year old almost had the holeshot in Moto1 and actually accomplished the honour in Moto2. Philippaerts’ was holding third position approaching the fourth turn of the opening lap in Moto1 when a rider fell in front of him. The pack was still very congested and the hold-up caused another person to hit the Italian and put him on the ground. Restarting from last the 24 year old took almost two laps to steady himself but then exploded on a 30 minute whirl of lap-times and overtaking moves that saw him pass 16 riders and arrive to fifth position behind his team-mate. His progress was cheered by the crowd on virtually every lap and he deservedly earned plaudits from the team and his followers.
Coppins hit the front in Moto2 but was passed by eventual winner Max Nagl. Philippaerts, in third spot and through the first turns safely this time, gave chase to the German but it wasn’t until the final circulations that he was able to break down a barrier of some five seconds to the back wheel of the leader. Coppins took another top-five finish with a relatively lonely ride but was satisfied with his day’s work.

Van Beers’Aigar Leok obtained his best moto result of the season with a decent eighth place in the first moto but the Estonian was unable to finish the second outing.
The points table makes favourable reading for the team and also for Yamaha. In just his second season in the category Philippaerts is already setting a high pace for the title. With 28 points advantage over world champion Steve Ramon Philippaerts has a gap of just over one moto. Coppins is keeping close and is only 10 points adrift of the Belgian. Yamaha head the manufacturer’s standings by 8 points.

The world championship now pauses for a week before the series reconvenes at the new Mallory Park circuit for the British Grand Prix on June 1st.
David Philippaerts, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team, 3rd:
“Someone went down in front of me and when I was hit from behind I went over the bike that was lying on the ground. It was a big crash and also disappointing because I knew it would be hard to win the GP after that. I tried as hard as I could. I was watching my lap-times and I knew they were fast; I did the best lap of the race near the end and that was a good thing. In the second moto I pushed to get near to Nagl so that he would see me and maybe make a mistake but it was raining a lot and I did not want to make a mistake. I thought of the points and did not take any risks. I wanted to win here but to be on the podium is OK. The bike and the team are so good and this is a big reason why we have this lead in the championship.”

Josh Coppins, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team, 6th:
“It is quite close at the front of the championship and we saw another new winner this weekend. I am the only guy from the first few in the standings who has not won yet, but it will come. I think everyone knows that I have had a hard couple of weeks and I am not riding as well as I would like, so I think we did a good job in the motos; I believe fourth and fifth was not too bad. I closed some points to Ramon and pulled away from Mackenzie. I was pleased with my starts today even if I did ride badly in the first ten minutes of both motos; I was just too slow. In the last ten minutes I am as fast as the leader but I am too stiff and not relaxed in the first moments of the races. My confidence is getting better though. I don’t like this track and it is the only one of the fifteen that I struggle with, so that’s another reason why I am pleased with the result. I am looking forward to England now; that is like a home GP for me. I like to think I have a chance to win there.”

Massimo Raspanti, Racing Manager:
“This was good for us because from a bad day David still make a positive result. After the first two laps his speed was fantastic in the first moto. Josh was a different rider to the one we saw on Saturday so we are happy for him. He is still third in the championship but gained some points on Ramon.”