Coppins cancels his entry for the last MXGP

Saturday 1 September 2007, 1:15PM
By Josh "Lizzard" Coppins

Joshua Coppins has decided to pull out of the final round of the 2007 MX1 world championship. The recovery of the shoulder injury he sustained at the 11th round of the championship at Loket (Czech Republic) held on the 29th of July has not progressed sufficiently to enable him to try and clinch back the 14 points gap on Steve Ramon. While Coppins tried with some success to minimize the damage to his title changes at the hard packed circuit in Donington last weekend, the prospect of the physically demanding deep sand track of Lierop offers no hope for him to close the point’s deficit.

Joshua’s brave attempt to race at Donington earned him just seven points, the result of a 14th position finish in the first moto. He retired from the second moto early on because excessive pain prevented him from continuing. The pain remained during this week despite trying another special treatment. A CT scan of the shoulder revealed that the race at Donington did not aggravate the injury, but that the healing of the bone had not progressed any further. The only advice the doctor could give was to take rest and wait until the bone has healed completely.

Admitting defeat is not really in Josh’s character and is even more difficult to accept as he can be regarded as the moral winner of this year’s championship, being the rider with the most GP wins, despite missing three events. Before Loket Josh led the championship supremely with 107 points and looked on his way to win his first world title very comfortably. Yet injury is part of motocross racing, a fact that Coppins is willing to accept; "Obviously I’m very disappointed, more than that, it is difficult to explain in words how I feel right now. I have been putting so much effort into the pre-season and it all seemed to pay off with a huge lead prior to Loket. But in the end it proved not enough when you get hurt like I did, that’s the hard reality of Motocross racing. I’m focusing already on next year and I absolutely want to grab the title then. I have proven to myself, my team and Yamaha that I can do it and they are 110% behind me."

Yamaha Motor Europe racing division manager Laurens Klein Koerkamp is also bitterly disappointed with the unfortunate turn the MX1 championship took. "All of us here at Yamaha share the huge disappointment of Josh. We support his decision to pull out of the last GP as it is simply not realistic to expect him to even only close the gap in the deep sand of Lierop. Josh has worked so hard for it this year, I believe harder than anybody, and because of his preparation he dominated the first ten rounds of the championship. For all of us it was utterly frustrating to see his 107 points lead slowly diminish and not being able to do anything about it, just to hope he would recover in time."

"We now look ahead to 2008. Antonio Cairoli’s debut MX1 win last week on the production 2008 YZ450F only added to our confidence we that will have the package for Josh to reclaim the main off-road title Yamaha has held for the last six years with Stefan Everts."

Yamaha Motocross Team owner Michele Rinaldi has been accustomed to winning a lot in his career as team owner, so his feelings are first of all with Josh; "After winning six consecutive world championships as a team we can accept to hand over the No. 1 plate. We know what it feels like to win championships, but not Josh. When you can dominate like he did in the first ten rounds, it is terrible to be sidelined and seeing your title prospect disappear. It does not feel right. However what remains positive is that we made the right decisions for 2007 and I´m convinced that Josh with Yamaha will again be the combination to beat in 2008."
With the MX1 world championship coming to a close this weekend, Yamaha is still in with a good chance to win the MX3 title with Yves Demaria trailing leader Sven Breugelmans by only four points with two rounds remaining. The MX2 rider and manufacturer world championships have already been secured by Antonio Cairoli making Yamaha’s 2007 motocross season very successful, yet not as perfect as it could have been.