Leuret makes MX2 podium landmark

2007-04-22 13:40
Pascal Leuret gave the CRF250R its first silverware, as well as celebrating his maiden MX2 podium appearance, by taking third position overall at a hot and sunny Agueda circuit scene of the Grand Prix of Portugal; the third round of fifteen in the 2007 FIM Motocross World Championship.

The Frenchman, who left the NGS crew last week, posted results of 7th and 3rd and even led the second moto to earn his debut walk on the rostrum. After several years contesting the MX1 category 26 year old Leuret earned his spurs in the frantic pace of the MX2 class that on this occasion was won for the third event in a row by Antonio Cairoli with Briton's Tommy Searle taking second place.

The undulating circuit, distinctive for its red soil, absorbed the
water well from passing thunderstorms on Friday and pleasant
conditions graced Saturday's practice and qualification. The layout
was not particularly difficult in technical terms but offered a
decent and physically demanding racing course for participants of the
MX1 and MX2 classes.

Sunshine coated the venue on a hot day of racing. Kevin Strijbos
claimed his second career success ahead of Josh Coppins as the duo
owned an MX1 moto each, taking second position in the other; the
Belgian toasted victory courtesy of his superior speed in Moto2.

Honda's best performer was Mike Brown with 6th overall. The American
scored 9th and 7th position finishes and again looked sprightly off
the start line, even briefly leading the first race until the effects
of arm-pump caused him to slip back. The veteran is adapting himself
to GP pace and also the intricacies of the CRF450R and getting
stronger every round.

Team-mate Ken de Dycker had a subdued day that was not helped by a
first lap crash in the second moto. The Belgian's best result was 7th
in the first race but in truth he did not seem completely comfortable
on the quick Portuguese layout. He could take comfort in the fact
that the team's tweaks to the suspension set-up meant that he was
able to circulate at a higher speed for longer without suffering arm
trouble. He was 12th in Moto2 for ninth in the classification.

Multitek's James Noble was close to a memorable day. The Briton
started the first moto within the top six before dropping back into
the lower reaches of the top ten to catch his rhythm. The 26 year old
then continued a decent spread of lap-times right up until the flag
to capture 5th position and equal his best ever race finish (taken at
Namur and Teutschenthal 2005). Sadly his hopes of a first podium were
dashed after a collision with Thomas Allier in race two and he also
stalled his machine to end the day with 16th earning himself 10th overall.

Martin Honda's Antoine Meo is still struggling with an injury to his
left knee. The luckless Frenchman needed to have almost one litre of
fluid drained from the joint in the days before travelling to
Portugal. Meo attempted both motos but his participation was cut
short in the first outing when he was hit by De Dycker and had to
retire with a broken throttle. The second saw him claim 17th spot and
he now lies 21st in the standings.

The MX1 standings show that De Dycker holds fifth and Brown is also
in the top ten with 9th place.

Martin Honda's Ryan Mills qualified for his first ever MX2 World
Championship event but finished outside of the points in both motos
after mis-timing a jump caused the American to finish the day with
raw, bloody hands.

Matti Seistola was tenth overall for SRS Racing. In the MX2 standings
Cairoli has a mammoth 44 point lead over Christophe Pourcel who
crashed out in Moto2. Leuret holds fourth, which is another career best.

The fourth round of the 2007 series will take place in two weeks
time, the first weekend of May, at the Mantova circuit for the Grand
Prix of Italy..


Pascal Leuret: "I am happy, this is my first ever podium and it is
good for me but a little strange because I am on my own. I worked
hard this week to sort out the bike and also take care of my physical
condition. This is the best I could have hoped for. I stopped with
the team because of many problems. I know what I want. The 450 is a
good stock machine but the 250 needs some more special parts. I was
already fifth in the Championship after the first two GPs but I knew
I could make better results; the bike was good but not perfect. I
wanted another solution and when you are not happy you need to
change. Maybe it is not so professional but I have one goal and went my way."

Ken de Dycker, CAS Honda: "The first moto was OK. I was in the middle
of the pack and looking to come through but Ramon crashed in front of
me and I rode into him. I got going again but after three or four
laps I hit Meo and we both crashed. My speed was good after that, I
am happy because I did not have pain in my arms anymore and the bike
was working better in terms of the handling and the suspension now. I
had a pretty good start in the second moto but I could not avoid
riding into Josh and the bike stopped. I started again and things
were OK for the rest of the race but it was not easy to pass because
the track was rough and quite dangerous in places."

Mike Brown, CAS Honda: "It is getting better. I need to work on my
sprints because I am getting the starts and I just need to get those
quicker laps made at the beginning. Overall the weekend was better
than we have had so far. I got good starts in both motos but in the
second I was not going to try and over-ride myself and get arm-pump.
I wanted to settle in and go with the other guys."

Antoine Meo, Martin Honda: "In the first moto I had a really bad
start but came back to 15th then De Dycker really hit me hard and
sent me flying. He broke the throttle and also the brake. In the
second moto I got another bad start but rode OK to come back to 10th.
I wanted to push too much and had some pain with my knee and 17th was
the best I could do. My speed was OK today but I will have to drain
the knee again now and try to get back into a good condition in time
for Italy."

Ryan Mills, Martin Honda: "I got a good start in my first moto,
around 12th, but because I haven't been riding much I got really big
blisters coming into the race and the skin started ripping off in
that moto. I kept going as fast as I could. In the second moto I got
half way through before I over-jumped one of the jumps and lost grip
on the bars, taking more chunks out of my hand. I was 22nd and
thought it would be better for me to heal up and come back strong for Mantova."

James Noble, Multitek Honda: "The first moto was good. I got a pretty
decent start and was around 6th or 7th but slipped off on the
step-up. I was down in 9th but got back to 7th and got lucky when two
riders crashed in front of me, but I was happy with 5th. In the
second moto I had a really good jump out of the gate. Strijbos and
Josh were going at it but I managed to move around them. I was
hovering around 4th or 5th but then the lad on the Kawasaki took me
on the inside and forced me off the track. I came right back on and
passed him going up the step-off. He was railing the berm and came
across me and hit me mid-air. I crashed pretty hard and bruised the
left side of my body. I got the bike started but stalled it three
laps later. After that, and being in 23rd position, I went as hard as
I could. Obviously I am a bit disappointed but I showed that I can
run with them. Things are coming together for me but I just have to
get those two moto results now."


Results Motocross

MX1 Race 1 (20 laps = 30 Km)
Pos / Rider / Nat. / Bike / Time
1 / Coppins, Joshua / NZL / Yamaha / 39:18.003
2 / Strijbos, Kevin / BEL / Suzuki / 39:29.018
3 / Philippaerts, David / ITA / KTM / 39:32.136
4 / Leok, Tanel / EST / Kawasaki / 39:35.343
5 / Noble, James / GBR / Honda / 39:58.777
6 / Priem, Manuel / BEL / TM / 40:05.161
7 / de Dycker, Ken / BEL / Honda / 40:13.080
8 / Nemeth, Kornel / HUN / Suzuki / 40:18.743
9 / Brown, Mike / USA / Honda / 40:23.025
10 / Pourcel, Sebastien / FRA / Kawasaki / 40:28.099
11 / Ramon, Steve / BEL / Suzuki / 40:31.653
12 / van Daele, Marvin / BEL / Honda / 40:33.314
13 / Barragan, Jonathan / ESP / KTM / 41:01.075
14 / de Reuver, Marc / NED / Yamaha / 41:10.311
15 / Desalle, Clement / BEL / Suzuki / 41:16.516

Fastest Lap: STRIJBOS Kevin in 1:50.759 on lap 3


MX1 Race 2 (20 laps = 30 Km)
Pos / Rider / Nat. / Bike / Time
1 / Strijbos, Kevin / BEL / Suzuki / 39:43.882
2 / Coppins, Joshua / NZL / Yamaha / 40:03.996
3 / Pourcel, Sebastien / FRA / Kawasaki / 40:16.033
4 / Priem, Manuel / BEL / TM / 40:22.707
5 / Philippaerts, David / ITA / KTM / 40:29.124
6 / Allier, Thomas / FRA / Kawasaki / 40:32.607
7 / Brown, Mike / USA / Honda / 40:36.047
8 / Ramon, Steve / BEL / Suzuki / 40:40.281
9 / Mackenzie, Billy / GBR / Kawasaki / 40:41.468
10 / Nemeth, Kornel / HUN / Suzuki / 40:42.726
11 / van Daele, Marvin / BEL / Honda / 40:47.402
12 / de Dycker, Ken / BEL / Honda / 41:08.251
13 / Leok, Aigar / EST / Yamaha / 41:13.766
14 / Barragan, Jonathan / ESP / KTM / 41:20.312
15 / Renet, Pierre A. / FRA / Honda / 41:22.959

Fastest Lap: COPPINS Joshua in 1:52.018 on lap 3


MX1 World Motocross Championship Standings
Pos Rider Total
1 Coppins, J. 144, 2 Strijbos, K. 125, 3 Barragan, J. 89, 4 Ramon,
Steve 86, 5 de Dycker, Ken 84,
6 Pourcel, S. 67, 7 Nagl, M. 63, 8 Philippaerts, D. 62, 9 Brown, Mike
62, 10 Priem, Manuel 61,
11 Leok, Tanel 61, 12 Noble, James 61, 13 de Reuver, M. 60, 14
Nemeth, Kornel 51,
15 Mackenzie, B. 46.



MX2 Race 1 (20 laps = 30 Km)
Pos / Rider / Nat. / Bike / Time
1 / Cairoli, Antonio / ITA / Yamaha / 39:42.522
2 / Pourcel, Christophe / FRA / Kawasaki / 39:46.428
3 / Searle, Tommy / GBR / KTM / 40:17.467
4 / Swanepoel, Gareth / RSA / Kawasaki / 40:18.753
5 / Rattray, Tyla / RSA / KTM / 40:19.837
6 / Bonini, Matteo / ITA / Yamaha / 40:20.961
7 / Leuret, Pascal / FRA / Honda / 40:24.697
8 / Boissiere, Anthony / FRA / Kawasaki / 40:26.820
9 / Seistola, Matti / FIN / Honda / 40:38.115
10 / Monni, Manuel / ITA / Yamaha / 40:48.310
11 / Frossard, Steven / FRA / Kawasaki / 40:54.080
12 / Gundersen, Kenneth / NOR / Yamaha / 40:58.018
13 / Nunn, Carl / GBR / Yamaha / 41:00.246
14 / Boog, Xavier / FRA / Yamaha / 41:02.406
15 / Church, Tom / GBR / Kawasaki / 41:03.612

Fastest Lap: POURCEL Christophe in 1:51.572 on lap 4


MX2 Race 2 (20 laps = 30 Km)
Pos / Rider / Nat. / Bike / Time
1 / Cairoli, Antonio / ITA / Yamaha / 40:28.619
2 / Aubin, Nicolas / FRA / Yamaha / 40:33.796
3 / Leuret, Pascal / FRA / Honda / 40:39.723
4 / Boissiere, Anthony / FRA / Kawasaki / 40:44.339
5 / Gundersen, Kenneth / NOR / Yamaha / 40:49.864
6 / Searle, Tommy / GBR / KTM / 40:57.692
7 / Simpson, Shaun / GBR / Kawasaki / 41:01.260
8 / Swanepoel, Gareth / RSA / Kawasaki / 41:11.038
9 / Frossard, Steven / FRA / Kawasaki / 41:14.526
10 / Bonini, Matteo / ITA / Yamaha / 41:21.043
11 / Seistola, Matti / FIN / Honda / 41:25.802
12 / Boog, Xavier / FRA / Yamaha / 41:28.101
13 / Church, Tom / GBR / Kawasaki / 41:34.719
14 / Nunn, Carl / GBR / Yamaha / 41:39.663
15 / Avis, Wyatt / RSA / KTM / 41:47.047

Fastest Lap: POURCEL Christophe in 1:52.318 on lap 2


MX2 World Motocross Championship Standings
Pos Rider Total
1 Cairoli, A. 147, 2 Pourcel, C. 103, 3 Rattray, Tyla 98, 4 Leuret,
Pascal 87, 5 Searle, Tommy 79,
6 Gundersen, K. 75, 7 Swanepoel, G. 72, 8 Aubin, Nicolas 69, 9
Seistola, M. 61, 10 Boissiere, A. 57,
11 Eggens, Erik 54, 12 Schiffer, M. 49, 13 Frossard, S. 47, 14 Monni,
Manuel 45, 15 Boog, Xavier 41.

Source: Honda Pro Image

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