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International MX News : MX / SX World Championships
26.05.2007 Grand Prix of Japan in Sugo (JPN) - Qualifying

Second pole in a row for Joshua Coppins

Today the Sportsland of Sugo – venue of the FIM Motocross World Championship since 2005 - demonstrated the high quality of its ground by hosting a complete day of racing after yesterday’s rain.
A sunny Saturday was the scenery of this opening day of the Japanese Grand Prix, the sixth of the season; in the MX1 class Joshua Coppins (NZL, Yamaha) was the fastest on track, earning the top spot for tomorrow’s race. In MX2, both Championship challengers Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki) and Antonio Cairoli (ITA, Yamaha) won their qualifying moto’s, and promised each other war for both GP moto’s.


Yamaha Motocross Josh Coppins took it step by step today, as he used the first two free practice sessions to get to grips with the track; he showed his best in the last ten minutes of the qualifying session, that was dominated by Kawasaki Europe’s Billy Mackenzie (GBR, Kawasaki) in the early stages. Once Coppins snatched the lead from Mackenzie, he secured his second pole in a row and left Billy back with second. The Scottish won the last two editions of the Japanese Grand Prix when he was in MX2, and this looks like the chance to clinch his maiden MX1 victory. On the other hand, KTM Red Bull’s David Philippaerts (ITA. KTM) already made it in Germany, but ended with only 17th fastest today.
Joshua Coppins (NZL, Yamaha) / Photo by: Massimo Zanzani
Joshua Coppins (NZL, Yamaha) / Photo by: Massimo Zanzani
Ken De Dycker (BEL, Honda) of CAS Honda was another one who performed well last year, and was third fastest today. The Belgian worked his way up to the top three with consistency, and clocked his best laptime with three minutes to go.
Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki) of GPKR ended the day with a solid fourth, which will guarantee him a good spot on tomorrow’s gate, ahead of Suzuki’s Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), fifth. His team mate Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), currently second in the Championship, finished with only 15th, behind the fastest home rider Yoshitaka Atsuta (JPN, Honda) of HRC; Kevin will definitely need two good starts tomorrow, to avoid a Coppins escape in the points standings.

Qualifying Class MX1:

  1. Coppins, Joshua (NZL, Yamaha), 1:45.530
  2. Mackenzie, Billy (GBR, Kawasaki), 1:45.827
  3. de Dycker, Ken (BEL, Honda), 1:45.925
  4. Pourcel, Sebastien (FRA, Kawasaki), 1:46.000
  5. Ramon, Steve (BEL, Suzuki), 1:46.233
  6. Leok, Tanel (EST, Kawasaki), 1:46.489
  7. Barragan, Jonathan (ESP, KTM), 1:46.994
  8. Nagl, Maximilian (GER, KTM), 1:47.145
  9. Priem, Manuel (BEL, TM), 1:47.303
  10. de Reuver, Marc (NED, Yamaha), 1:47.306
  11. Noble, James (GBR, Honda), 1:47.451
  12. Crockard, Gordon (IRL, Honda), 1:47.458
  13. Brown, Mike (USA, Honda), 1:47.577
  14. Atsuta, Yoshitaka (JPN, Honda), 1:47.597
  15. Strijbos, Kevin (BEL, Suzuki), 1:48.086
  16. Nemeth, Kornel (HUN, Suzuki), 1:48.622
  17. Philippaerts, David (ITA, KTM), 1:48.794
  18. Allier, Thomas (FRA, Kawasaki), 1:49.572
  19. Theybers, Danny (BEL, Honda), 1:49.593
  20. Columb, Scott (NZL, Suzuki), 1:49.999
  21. Toda, Kuraudo (JPN, Suzuki), 1:50.550
  22. Masuda, Kazumasa (JPN, Honda), 1:50.654
  23. Narita, Akira (JPN, Yamaha), 1:50.915
  24. Kaga, Shinichi (JPN, Suzuki), 1:51.696
  25. Kitai, Yoshiki (JPN, Suzuki), 1:51.937
  26. Kugimura, Taichi (JPN, Yamaha), 1:52.283
  27. Ogata, Makoto (JPN, Honda), 1:52.472
  28. Takahama, Ryuichiro (JPN, Honda), 1:53.538
  29. Ohkawara, Kohij (JPN, Yamaha), 1:53.593
  30. Hiratsuka, Masaki (JPN, Kawasaki), 1:54.088


GPKR’s Christophe Pourcel was the protagonist of the first qualifying moto, where he had a storming start but was constantly chased by KTM Red Bull’s Tyla Rattray (RSA, KTM), he finally won, as his rival Antonio Cairoli of Yamaha De Carli did in the following heat, but with different style. Once again the Italian dominated each of the 12 laps.

MX2 Qualifying Race 1

Frenchman Christophe Pourcel and Nicolas Aubin (FRA, Yamaha) were the fastest to ride past the gate, and fought for the top spot right in the first corner. Pourcel made it to first, with Aubin following, but a hungry pack made of Pascal Leuret (FRA, Honda) and Tyla Rattray was coming up fast. While Rattray was battling for third with Leuret, Pourcel opened up a gap on Aubin; Rattray made to pass Leuret and begun a non-stop chase to Aubin. Once the South African passed, he got closer and closer to the leader Pourcel, but then the defending World Champion speeded up to arrive first at the chequered flag. Aubin and Leuret were third and fourth respectively behind a solid Rattray, as Davide Guarneri (ITA, Yamaha) ended the top five. The fastest Japanese rider was Youhei Kojima (JPN, Suzuki), who qualified for the race by finishing the session in tenth; also Italian Manuel Monni (ITA, Yamaha) will be at the gate tomorrow, but he had to go through the last chance session as he crashed and dislocated his left shoulder.

Qualifying Class MX2 1st Race:

  1. Pourcel, Christophe (FRA, Kawasaki)
  2. Rattray, Tyla (RSA, KTM)
  3. Aubin, Nicolas (FRA, Yamaha)
  4. Leuret, Pascal (FRA, Honda)
  5. Guarneri, Davide (ITA, Yamaha)
  6. Dougan, Jason (GBR, Suzuki)
  7. Boissiere, Anthony (FRA, Kawasaki)
  8. Verbruggen, Dennis (BEL, Yamaha)
  9. Barr, Martin (GBR, Yamaha)
  10. Kojima, Youhei (JPN, Suzuki)
  11. Hirata, Yu (JPN, Honda)
  12. Nicholls, Jake (GBR, Suzuki)

MX2 Qualifying Race 2

Antonio Cairoli (ITA, Yamaha) / Photo by: Massimo Zanzani
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, Yamaha) / Photo by: Massimo Zanzani
Carl Nunn (GBR, Yamaha) got a brilliant start, but Antonio Cairoli was much more on the inside, and was the first to slam the bike into the first turn. Tommy Searle (GBR, KTM) was quick to sneak into the second spot, and started to chase Cairoli for victory in the opening lap; the Italian lost the touch with the Brit quite soon, as he posted a couple of fast laps right at the beginning of the race, to cruise to a safe victory, ahead of Searle and Gareth Swanepoel (RSA, Kawasaki). The South African had to work his way up there from seventh. After he overtook Matti Seistola (FIN, Honda) and Carl Nunn, ha battled with Kawasaki fellow rider Simpson (GBR, Kawasaki) for fourth, and finally clinched third by passing Kenneth Gundersen (NOR, Yamaha) at lap six. Also Sean Hamblin (USA, Suzuki) had a good qualifying race, finishing fourth ahead of Gundersen; he put the heat on the Norwegian until he crashed, handing fourth to Hamblin. Gundersen was quick to get back on the bike, and finished the heat in fifth place, as Carl Nunn rounded off the top ten after he crashed.

Qualifying Class MX2 2nd Race:

  1. Cairoli, Antonio (ITA, Yamaha)
  2. Searle, Tommy (GBR, KTM)
  3. Swanepoel, Gareth (RSA, Kawasaki)
  4. Hamblin, Sean (USA, Suzuki)
  5. Gundersen, Kenneth (NOR, Yamaha)
  6. Church, Tom (GBR, Kawasaki)
  7. Seistola, Matti (FIN, Honda)
  8. Schiffer, Marcus (GER, KTM)
  9. Nunn, Carl (GBR, Yamaha)
  10. Kojima, Takuma (JPN, Yamaha)
  11. Simpson, Shaun (GBR, Kawasaki)
  12. Fukaya, Kouichi (JPN, Honda)

MX2 Last Chance Qualifying Practice:

  1. Monni, Manuel (ITA, Yamaha), 1:53.327
  2. Kugimura, Tadashi (JPN, Yamaha), 1:53.344
  3. Ozaki, Yuya (JPN, Yamaha), 1:53.750
  4. Banks-Browne, Elliot (GBR, Suzuki), 1:54.137
  5. Watanabe, Manabu (JPN, Yamaha), 1:54.471
  6. Hoshino, Yutaka (JPN, Suzuki), 1:55.015
Source: Youthstream
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