Eventful first MX showing of 2005 for KTM in Italy2005-02-13 10:25
Steve Ramon and Ben Townley, the last two MX2 World Champions (2003 and '04 respectively) started their 2005 MX1 campaigns with a difficult test at a dry and dusty Mantova circuit today.
Both riders were fast enough to compete with regular GP peers like reigning number one Stefan Everts, Joel Smets, Mickael Pichon and Javier Garcia Vico but several incidents throughout the three motos ruined any chance of a decent overall result.
Townley suffered a broken chain in the opening race and fell in the second after colliding with Smets while fighting for a top five placing. A swollen and painful thumb forced the Kiwi to sit out the final heat. The hand injury is not believed to be serious although Townley will return to his base in Belgium tomorrow for a further medical check.
Steve Ramon posted race positions of 7-5-5 despite spills in the first and second races. The Belgian was leading in both sprints but crashed of his own accord in the first moto and was a victim of a coming-together with Everts later in the afternoon. A final position of fifth arrived in the last event.
Stefan Everts was the overall winner, claiming two races, with Pichon the victor in the first but suffering a hefty crash in the third moto.
Kenneth Gundersen was overjoyed last week when a positive verdict from medical staff in Sweden meant the Norwegian could start riding this weekend. Gundersen was facing a further month on the sidelines recovering from the cartilage operation that saw him miss the second half of the 2004 MX1 World Championship but the results of the check-up have left doctors surprised and confident that the 23 year old can now climb back onto the factory 450 SX. Although still some distance away from making a racing return Gundersen can begin preparation for the first Grand Prix of the season at Zolder on 3rd April.
"I saw the doctor in Sweden and he said that everything was going really well," he remarked. "After eight months off the bike I was able to make some steady laps at a track just down the road in Norway; it was really nice to be back! I now have to take it easy for the next two months and build the knee up slowly but everything is going the way I hoped. It takes one year for the cartilage to get hard but after eight months it will be OK for motocross. It has now been almost six months so I am getting closer. I plan to train harder and at the end of March they will place a keyhole camera in my knee to see how it is and hopefully then I will get the go-ahead for serious racing."
Source: KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG
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