News Report 14 September 2008

2008 GP of Citta di Faenza, Faenza

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09 / 14 / 2008
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Philippaerts wins 2008 MX1-GP World Championship!


The Yamaha Monster Motocross Team celebrated a fantastic end to a wonderful season of racing as David Philippaerts became world champion and went home permanently with the red plate as MX1-GP series leader after the fifteenth and final round at the Faenza circuit in Italy. The 24 year old fronted the FIM world championship for 12 of the 15 events and was crowned ‘number one’ with the YZ450FM for the first time in his career in front of 30,000 wiling spectators.

The Italian, in his first season with the Yamaha Monster Motocross Team and only his second in the MX-1 GP class after moving up from successful exploits in MX2-GP, defied the pressure of expectation by his home crowd and also the last-gasp attentions of main rivals Steve Ramon and Ken De Dycker to take results of 3rd and 9th for 5th overall across the damp soil. The tight and compact Faenza circuit (some 50km east of Bologna) did not offer a typical Italian test thanks to some changeable weather conditions and outbreaks of rain that left the terrain a mixture of slippery and soft parts.
Philippaerts rode determinedly in Moto1 to rise from 8th to 3rd by mid-distance and leave nearest challenger Ramon in his wake. Finishing one position behind De Dycker meant that the champion-elect needed just three points to claim his prize. An understandably cautious approach in Moto2 saw Philippaerts settle for a safe top ten slot. After jumping for joy at the finish line he was mobbed by an army of fans, media and well-wishers at the finish line in scenes not witnessed at a motocross Grand Prix for many years.

His achievement in 2008 represented the fourth crown in five years for the Yamaha factory team with the potent and conquering YZ450FM.

From the 30 motos of the 2008 FIM world championship Philippaerts recorded 3 wins and 13 top three finishes. From the 15 Grand Prix he obtained 7 overall podiums and was victorious twice. He is the first Italian to win the title in the blue ribbon category since Alex Puzar eighteen years ago in 1990.
Josh Coppins ended the season with 6th place at Faenza. The New Zealander earned 5th in the final championship standings despite an unlucky campaign. He appeared twice on the rostrum, winning once and scoring 2 moto victories. The 31 year old had a problem with his front fork in the opening race and had to slow his speed; he took 10th by the flag. In the second outing he was back to form and held off several riders in an intense fight for 3rd place.

The racing calendar is not yet quite over for both Yamaha Monster Motocross Team riders. Coppins competes in the Belgian Championship next weekend before travelling to Donington Park to represent New Zealand at the 62nd Motocross of Nations. Philippaerts will also be in the UK and wearing Italian colours.
David Philippaerts, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team, 5th, 1st in championship:

“It has been a long, long year and now I am so happy. Steve and Ken were really fast all week and kept the pressure on. I wanted to take decent points at every GP and I only really believed that the title was in my grasp during that second moto today. I had looked at Steve’s season in 2007 and I knew that consistency was the key to the title. I am so pleased for the team, Yamaha, Michele and my sponsors. I also want to say a big thank you to my girlfriend Alice. I am happy and it was so emotional to win the championship here in Italy and in front of those fans. I do not know what else I can say!”
Josh Coppins, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team, 6th, 5th in championship:

“It has not been my year but I am happy for the team and for Yamaha to regain the championship. With the fork problem in the first moto my braking points were off and the traction was affected; I struggled basically and crashed twice. I was disappointed when I came in and we made some changes during the break. My start was again good and in the second race I showed that I am capable of running near the front. I am happy the season is over and that I finished the year injury-free. I finished in the top five but this is not that much of a consolation for me. Anyway, we will now look towards next season.”

Mino Raspanti, Racing Manager, Yamaha Monster Motocross Team:

“This is a fantastic day, for many people connected with the team and with Yamaha. David was excellent in the first moto and was really dedicated and brave with his approach; many riders in the same position would have thought about the points but he pushed hard for the top three. He went for the safe result in Moto2 and he deserves all the acclaim. I am really happy for him. We knew he might win a few GPs this season but ’08 was about gaining experience, so he has done an immense job, especially considering he led the championship from round three. Josh had a good second moto and it was a decent way to finish a season in which he has been so unlucky. After last year I am glad we have the title back and now we will continue working hard in the winter for a defence in 2009.”

Laurens Klein Koerkamp, Racing Division Manager, Yamaha Motor Europe:

“Last year we were so close to the championship and now I really feel that the title is back where it belongs. MX1-GP is the top class in off-road racing and we wanted the championship back for 2008. It has been an incredible year and an exciting season. David came into the team as the new rider but he was leading the series from round three and had to weather that pressure all year. To finish it off like this, here in Italy, is really fantastic.”