News Report 3 August 2008
Belgium

2008 GP of Belgium, Lommel

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Lommel
1880 m
att 27
08 / 03 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Coppins 7th through tough Belgian sand

Race

The Yamaha Monster Motocross Team endured one of their hardest and most dramatic days of the 2008 FIM MX1-GP world championship as Josh Coppins finished 7th and David Philippaerts 10th through the notoriously heavy and difficult sand of the Lommel circuit for the Grand Prix of Belgium and the eleventh round of fifteen in the current campaign.

Arguably one of the toughest tests for man and machine on the GP calendar, the rough and absorbing sand in central Belgium was suitably demanding, and the racing conditions were not helped by occasional light showers. 27,000 spectators saw two action-packed MX1 motos in which constant position changes took place thanks to varying race speed across the bumps and crashes and mistakes due to fatigue and miscalculation.
It was not a good day for series leader David Philippaerts who took 15th and 6th and described the track as the hardest he has ridden. A racing incident with Ken de Dycker led to the Italian falling to the floor on the first lap and the YZ450FM also being clipped from his hands from a passing rider when he was trying to restart. Philippaerts regained ground to fifteenth place before another error ruined his work. Google-less, he made his way back to fifteenth and lost the red plate to Steve Ramon for the first time since round three in Portugal by just one point.

In the second moto he fought with title rival Ramon – both riders falling in the latter stages as tiredness took hold – and crossed the finish line behind the Belgian, meaning that he trails the world champion by two points with four Grand Prix and eight motos remaining.
The team’s best placed rider was Coppins but the Kiwi was unsatisfied with his results of 5th and 8th. The 31 year old was sick entering the weekend and felt unprepared for the test ahead. He started around the top ten in the opening race and pulled through in strongly and typical style by the end. Like many riders he struggled in the second moto and lost any chance of a top five overall finish after colliding with Billy Mackenzie and falling.

Yamaha Van Beers Aigar Leok took his sixth top ten finish of the season with 9th place in the second moto and was 11th overall.

In the championship standings Yamaha still head the manufacturers table by 7 points. Philippaerts has a slender deficit to Ramon while Coppins is only 17 points away in 3rd.

The Yamaha Monster Motocross Team will only have a few days to recover from their exertions in Belgium with the Grand Prix of Czech Republic at the Loket circuit, round twelve of fifteen, due to occur next weekend.

Josh Coppins, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team, 7th:

“I had Flu coming into the weekend and it was a bit frustrating knowing I was approaching the hardest race of the year not in the best shape. Overall it was a pretty average GP in terms of riding and fitness but in terms of the championship points it was not the end of the world. To try and be champion I have to be better than this. One is example is the move I tried to make on Billy in the second moto. I went for it but ended up taking him down. It was a bit silly and because I was so tired I miscalculated; so sorry to him. The first moto was OK and I came through a bit at the end but in the second I felt I could only go at ¾. I wasn’t surprised by how much of a hard test this track would be. Normally my strength is one of my positive points but this GP I could not keep at my maximum. We go to Loket next and I am looking forward to a hard-pack start. Right now I just want to ride better and hopefully feel 100% going into the race.”
David Philippaerts, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team, 10th:

“What a hard day. I crashed too much and this track was unbelievable. For me it was the hardest track of them all. In the first moto I changed my line in the corner and De Dycker came across and hit my front wheel. There was no time to react. I was so tired in the second that I could not save the bike when the front wheel started to go. I am second in the championship but it is more or less the same and there are four GPs to go. A lot of riders made mistakes today and when you go down in the sand it is hard to recover.”

Mino Raspanti, Racing Manager, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team:

“We knew this weekend would be difficult! Josh was pretty good in the first moto except that his speed was so-so in the first moments of the race but his pace was like the leaders by the end. In the second he was around seventh and doing OK but then came together with Billy when he tried to overtake. He had been really ill during the week so honestly I am happy with what he did today; especially because he took some points away from first position in the championship. David was unlucky with the first moto crash and it was always going to be a very hard and difficult way back from that. We have seen him make some very good recoveries but this was a different scenario. 15th was not good for the championship but it was not a complete disaster with the amount of races we still have. Both Ramon and David exchanged mistakes in the second moto but the result insured that he is not far away at all even if the red plate is gone for the moment. It was a complicated weekend for the bikes as well and we did not have any problems, which was great, and the mechanics and the team worked really hard.”