Italian Grand Prix 2003 - Looking back in time
News Tuesday 04th September 2012 By Geoff Meyer
Behind the disappearing Belgian in the MXGP race an interesting tussle for second place was beginning to take shape with local hope and pole position holder Claudio Federici facing up to 100% podium finisher so far this season, Joel Smets and World Champion, standings leader and winner of the first three GPs Mickael Pichon.
Once again the World Champion found himself surrounded by 450cc four-strokes as he held a comfortable position with the Suzuki 250 in third behind Federici inside the first six laps and looked as though he would be able to close down Everts as he did at the Grand Prix of Holland.
Federici then lost control of his 450 Yamaha right in front of Pichon causing both riders to crash. Pichon picked his bike up first but a damaged exhaust pipe meant it was only a matter of time before Federici retaliated and passed the Frenchman, who surprisingly was tiring, and pulled away to leave the 27 year old off the podium for the first time in over a year.
Smets alone in second also fell but kept the KTM running and Federici was not close enough to pose a threat. Everts took his first MXGP win, Federici gained his first top three, to the delight of the 15,800 fans, since the Italian GP in 2001. Smets, like Everts competing in two motos, collected his fourth consecutive podium.
In a series of memorable results: Pit Beirer gave the KTM 250 its best result of the year in fifth after winning a fight with Johnny Aubert. Patrick Caps earned his highest placing of the season with seventh. Yoshitaka Atsuta won his best GP finish so far in eighth. Christian Burnham and Antoine Meo completed the top ten. Josh Coppins was 15th in his comeback ride, one position behind Jamie Dobb.
“I feel so tired, I’m ready to fall over!” Everts remarked after a memorable achievement. “I did not test the 250 until Wednesday but I had a lot of confidence in the bike. The 125 race set me up perfectly for the Motocross GP because I knew all of the fast lines already and where I should be going for the first lap; that really gave me an advantage. I’m so happy to win both GPs; it’s like a dream and I was almost afraid of thinking I could do it.”
Pichon still leads the way in the Championship but his eleven point advantage over Smets has now shrunk to seven. Everts is third eighteen points away from the lead.
Everts easily won the 125cc GP this morning and gave the Yamaha 250 four-stroke its first World Championship race victory. Everts, who last competed in a 125 event back in 1996 and won in 1991, the same year he was World Champ, grabbed the holeshot and started to pull away from the chasing pack from the very first lap.
Some frantic action took place behind the number 72 machine more akin to the normal way of life for the 125 series. Luigi Seguy had been as high as second until a crash with five minutes to go allowed Steve Ramon to escape and claim the runner-up spot. The Frenchman had been set for his best result for over a year but crossed the line down in sixth just behind Marc de Reuver who had also been fighting for the runner-up position in the early part of the race but fell in the same spot that Seguy would later come to grief.
Despite a raucous crowd cheering him on Andrea Bartolini could not catch and pass World Champion Mickael Maschio. The reigning number one completed the podium on his factory Kawasaki and is still searching for the same form that saw him dominate the opening GP in Spain.
The Championship standing has now swung into Ramon’s favour and the Belgian leads the way over his factory KTM team-mate De Reuver by five points. Bartolini trails by eight in third place while Machio holds fourth, fourteen points adrift.
Joel Smets gave Cedric Melotte and Javier Garcia Vico a slight headstart in the 650 event but by the end of the seventh lap he passed his Spanish KTM team-mate to seize the lead and win his fourth successive race by almost ten seconds.
Combined with his 100% top three string of results in the MX GP class, Smets now has amassed eight podiums in four GPs and heads the 650 standings by 12 points from Vico who took his fourth runner-up position in a row by overtaking Roman Jelen two laps from the chequered flag. Cedric Melotte and Fabrizio Dini filled the rest of the positions in the top five.