Coppins, De Reuver and Cairoli head to Japan
Press release Tuesday 22th May 2007 By Yamaha
Yamaha Motocross Team’s Josh Coppins currently enjoys a 43 point advantage in the MX1 classification. With one third of the fifteen race series already completed Coppins has forged a strong and notable start to his career as a Yamaha rider by guiding the Rinaldi-tuned works YZ450FM to three Grand Prix wins and seven moto triumphs from ten. He travels to Japan knowing that the Italian squad have tasted oriental victory in 2004 and 2005.
“Of course I would love to win for Yamaha at their home GP and that is another goal of mine this season,” said the 30 year old title favourite, who’s lowest finish this year has been a sixth position.
The New Zealander missed the 2006 edition of the race through injury but finished fourth in 2005 after taking part in a classic five rider scrap.
“I like the track a lot,” he continued. “I have only been once but had a pretty good result there. I like how it is pretty rough, technical and jumpy. The terrain is also interesting. I am also fond of Japan, when you have to travel so far it helps that you like the actual country. I enjoy taking in the countryside and somehow I feel very safe when I am there. The people are so polite and very helpful.”
Coppins, along with the Rinaldis and team-mate Marc de Reuver, will visit the Yamaha Motor Co (YMC) factory at Hamamatsu in the days leading up to the GP.
“I am really looking forward to that,” he added. “As I get towards the later stages of my career I am starting to appreciate a lot more the history of our sport and places like Yamaha with their museum for motorsport. I am keen to see their old world championship bikes in both road racing and motocross. I have never actually been to a factory before so I am looking forward to meeting the bosses and the guys responsible for the bikes. It will be nice also to see how the work and the testing that I do filter through to the production machines.”
The Sugo circuit has won rave reviews for not only its challenging layout but the care and attention directed to the soil that quickly becomes bumpy, rutted and technical. Marc de Reuver, who was third in the MX2 class there twelve months ago, is one of the many fans among the riding fraternity.
“I always prefer tracks that are not rock hard and Sugo is nice to ride,” the charismatic Dutchman said. “It has big braking bumps, which is good for sand riders because we can play a little bit with the bike going into the corners. The layout is not too fast and the jumps are enjoyable.”
The 24 year old has had a tough baptism to the MX1 class but top three moto results in Holland, Italy and Germany indicate there is more to come from De Reuver and a maiden overall podium is around the corner.
“For sure MX1 is different from what I expected,” he revealed. “As an MX2 rider you look at them and you think, ‘they are not a lot faster and not as aggressive’ but now that Stefan Everts has gone it seems that everyone sees the big prize. That second moto in Valkenswaard, only my second race, was so crazy. Mantova also, people were attacking, passing and really going for it, which I had not seen before. It seems like I am still in MX2! From the first to the last lap they push. MX1 is hard, especially physically.”
Team Manager Carlo Rinaldi is relishing the chance for his new rider line-up to show YMC staff first-hand the fruits of their efforts on the factory floor.
“I enjoy going to Japan first of all because we like the nice and kind cooperation from Yamaha and secondly because we love the track,” he remarked. “We have always taken good results there. The dirt and the layout are excellent and we have seen some great races. I think Josh will have some pressure but he has proved to us so far that he manages under those kinds of conditions. I believe that racing in Japan will give him an extra boost.”
“Visiting the factory will be something different for us and an added treat on our trip,” he added. “I honestly have never been to YMC so it will be interesting for me and the riders also.” Yamaha’s home dominance in the MX1 category is mirrored (in fact bettered) in MX2 where the YZ250F has taken the first two steps of the podium in both 2005 and 2006.
The factory stand a very good chance of further spoils next week thanks to the fantastic form of Team De Carli’s Antonio Cairoli, who is unbeaten in the five Grand Prix held so far and has notched nine moto wins from ten. The Sicilian, who has finished runner-up for the past two seasons in Sugo, will also visit the facilities in Hamamatsu with team principal Claudio De Carli.
“I love going to Japan and the whole experience, with the factory trip included, should be interesting also,” he said last week after winning the German Grand Prix at Teutschenthal. “I really like Sugo. I am definitely going there to win this time because I have finished second twice now.”
“The beginning of the season has been perfect,” affirmed De Carli. “It has gone like a dream and everything has been good. We worked well in our testing during the winter and Tony is physically very good and confident. We now have to do our best to keep going in this direction although it won’t be easy all year.”
The Italian boss was also full of praise for the 2007 YZ250F on which Cairoli has been torturing his rivals – most notably reigning champion Christophe Pourcel – this season and still has not finished lower than second place.
“The bike we have, as well as the stock version, is a little bit different from last year and is better for the rider because it turns and handles better in the corners,” he said. “It certainly suits Tony’s style. We have made some work on the delivery of the power, so it is more usable for the rider. We made some suspension adjustments and overall we are really happy with the equipment we have.”
The Grand Prix of Japan will be followed by trips to France and Bulgaria in the month of June as the 2007 campaign reaches the halfway point.