SUZUKI HUNGRY FOR GERMAN SUCCESS
The 14th round of the longest FIM Motocross World Championship in history takes place this weekend at Gaildorf with the Grand Prix of Germany.
Still buzzing from their first victory of the season - and the maiden GP triumph for the RM-Z450) two weeks ago at Loket -Team Suzuki will travel to the small town 80k east of Stuttgart optimistic of further success.
The German Grand Prix is the first of four remaining meetings set to take place in four weeks with trips to England, Holland and Ireland closing the hefty 2005 campaign that will be reduced to 15 races for 2006.
Kevin Strijbos managed to banish memories of painful early season injuries in the Czech Republic a fortnight ago when he clinched his first ever Grand Prix overall success at the age of 19. The Belgian proved that he was firmly back to speed with the historic MX1 World Championship achievement for Suzuki and their four-stroke project - he had gained two moto wins and a debut overall podium result in 2004.
Competing alongside Joel Smets, the team will have both riders physically fit and race-ready for the first time this season. The standings show that Smets can still finish third in the series but will need to close down KTM's Ben Townley by 41 points while Strijbos could still aim towards the top 15 despite missing half of the races.
Last Monday the Belgian duo contested the fifth round of their national Championship in Keiheuvel and Smets gained third place overall despite a small crash in the first of three motos. Strijbos was a slightly more cautious sixth.
Gaildorf first hosted a Grand Prix back in 1976 and has been a regular part of the 250cc and 500cc competitions over the decades. The venue has not missed a World Championship event since the categories amalgamated in 2001. The fast, hard, grassy and undulating track has a natural layout and holds something of a talismanic value for the Suzuki team having been the site of 250cc World Championship success in 1994, 2001 and 2002. Last season Strijbos raced to fifth and seventh positions in the motos for fourth spot overall as Smets missed the GP due to illness.
The weather outlook for the weekend is not good with showers and rainfall predicted for both days.
"I had a nice trip back from the Czech Republic and the win only really started to sink in on Tuesday when I thought a lot about the race and realised that I had actually beaten all of them. I went practising that day and it had never been better! I have been impatient for the next Grand Prix and I only hope I can do something similar in Gaildorf. The track there is pretty tricky and I am not a fan of the new section they put in last year. The course is fast and a few more guys like Seguy and those who are not normally at the front can cause some problems. I think a top five result is realistic but of course now I want better."
"Things were ok at the Belgian Championship. I was unlucky in the first heat because if it had not been for that small crash then I could have been nearer the front and possibly in contention for the overall win. It was a pity but I was happy with my riding and the results were much better in the next motos. Gaildorf is a nice track. The ground is pretty hard and it is nice to go from circuits that are sandy or have been artificially changed to ones that are more natural. The track is fast but it has normally been a good place for me. I also like visiting that area of Germany and the whole town seems to make the Grand Prix a special event so for sure it is one to look forward to."
MX1 World Championship Standings (after 13 rounds): 1 Stefan Everts, (BEL) 539. 2 Joshua Coppins, (NZL) 500. 3 Ben Townley, (NZL) 426. 4 Joel Smets, (BEL) 385< /STRONG>. 5 Mickael Pichon, (FRA) 368. 6 Steve Ramon, (BEL) 342. 7 Pascal Leuret, (FRA) 267. 8 Ken de Dijcker, (BEL) 245. 9 James Noble, (GBR) 230. 10 Brian Jorgensen, (DEN) 224. 11 Danny Theybers, (BEL) 223. 14 Yoshitaka Atsuta, (JPN) 184. 18 Kevin Strijbos, (BEL) 114.
Source:Team Suzuki Press Office
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