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Coppins stretches championship lead in Japan

Monday 28 May 2007, 9:06AM
By Infonews Editor

The 6th round of the FIM Motocross world championship has seen factory Yamaha racer, Josh Coppins, stretch his MX1 championship lead to 63 points at the Japanese Grand Prix in Sugo.

Coppins qualified fastest for the event (his second consecutive pole of the season) and had first gate pick going into the first moto. A tight line in the hairpin first turn saw the New Zealander emerge in third as a fast moving Billy Mackenzie raced to the front, passing Mike Brown for the lead. Coppins sealed the American’s fate three laps later to settle in second place. Spaniard, Jonathan Barragan put a spanner in the works when a late charge relegated Coppins to third.

With Brown grabbing the hole-shot in moto two and Billy McKenzie once again claiming the lead moments later, Coppins battled with Ken de Dycker for third and tried to find his race rhythm. Deteriorating track conditions made it physically difficult for the riders however Coppins pushed through to third but could not make much impression on the McKenzie and Brown. MacKenzie handed the victory to Brown when he had a huge get-off with five minutes left on the clock. Coppins could not capitalize on the Scots misfortune as he quickly rejoined the race forcing the Kiwi to be content with third.

“I was surprised I qualified on pole to be honest. I haven’t felt good on the bike all weekend and I think it showed in the race. I struggled to find good lines and my rhythm and had to make the best of bad day. It didn’t really go as I had hoped but I did my best. Of course I think about the championship all the time and trying to concentrate on race wins is not easy. On the other hand my consistency has built me a good lead in the championship,” explained a somewhat relieved Coppins.

Coppins will return to Europe for some testing with the Yamaha Rinaldi team in Italy before heading to St Jean d’Angely for the Fench GP in two weeks time.

Race results:

MX1 Race 1

1 Mackenzie, Billy GBR Kawasaki

2 Barragan, Jonathan ESP KTM

3 Coppins, Joshua NZL Yamaha

4 Philippaerts, David ITA KTM

5 Brown, Mike USA Honda

6 de Dycker, Ken BEL Honda

7 Pourcel, Sebastien FRA Kawasaki

8 Atsuta, Yoshitaka JPN Honda

9 Ramon, Steve BEL Suzuki

10 Noble, James GBR Honda

11 Priem, Manuel BEL TM

12 Strijbos, Kevin BEL Suzuki

13 Masuda, Kazumasa JPN Honda

14 Nemeth, Kornel HUN Suzuki

15 Nagl, Maximilian GER KTM

MX1 Race 2

1 Brown, Mike USA Honda

2 Mackenzie, Billy GBR Kawasaki

3 Coppins, Joshua NZL Yamaha

4 Ramon, Steve BEL Suzuki

5 Atsuta, Yoshitaka JPN Honda

6 Philippaerts, David ITA KTM

7 Leok, Tanel EST Kawasaki

8 Noble, James GBR Honda

9 Priem, Manuel BEL TM

10 Strijbos, Kevin BEL Suzuki

11 Pourcel, Sebastien FRA Kawasaki

12 Nagl, Maximilian GER KTM

13 Theybers, Danny BEL Honda

14 Nemeth, Kornel HUN Suzuki

15 Toda, Kuraudo JPN Suzuki

MX1 Championship standings:

1 Coppins, J. NZL 274

2 Strijbos, K. BEL 211

3 Ramon, Steve BEL 186

4 Pourcel, S. FRA 154

5 Philippaerts, D. ITA 148

6 de Dycker, Ken BEL 146

7 Barragan, J. ESP 143

8 Brown, Mike USA 141

9 Noble, James GBR 128

10 Leok, Tanel EST 126

11 Mackenzie, B. GBR 120

12 de Reuver, M. NED 115

13 Priem, Manuel BEL 103

14 Nagl, M. GER 95

15 Nemeth, Kornel HUN 80