World MX2 Champion Ben Townley has arrived in the MX1 class with a consistent 2-3 result and the overall victory in the Grand Prix of Spain today. In front of around 22,000 spectators the New Zealander put together a magnificent performance on his KTM on a race circuit that produced mixed results for many title contenders. Martin Honda rider Mickael Pichon showed his lightning speed in the opening moto, but then could only finish sixth in the second moto. It was enough to give Pichon second overall ahead of Suzuki factory rider Joel Smets, who went 7-1. Pichon goes to the front of the World Championship points due to a bad day by defending champion Stefan Everts, who went 8-2.
Townley, who picked up KTM's first ever overall in the MX1 class, had mentioned on the Friday that he had something special for the Spanish race and was excited to take his first ever MX1 overall victory and show the world that his move to the bigger class was a good one.
"You know when I was younger I used to look at guys like Smets, Coppins and Everts as my heroes," Townley said. "To think I have beaten them today is a great feeling. I want to thank KTM, they worked hard for this, and I am happy to give them their first win in the MX1 class."
In 1990 Alessio Chiodi won the 125cc Grand Prix of Spain, it was the former World Champion’s third victory at the Bellpuig circuit. Chiodi rode with magnificent determination, taking 2-3 results. Second place went to another Italian rider Antonio Cairoli, and Scottish rider Stephen Sword took third.
"I like this place, but it makes me feel like an old man winning here,” Chiodi said. “The last time was five years ago. I was just being careful, and riding with sensible lap times."
In the opening moto of the MX1 the early going looked like Stefan Everts would have his own way, although a big crash in the whoops section on lap two saw him go from first to eight. From there he would not really recover, finishing in eighth position, his worst finish in more than two years. Pichon, though, got stronger and stronger, eventually winning by 22 seconds from Townley and Brian Jorgensen another two seconds back in third place. The second moto of the MX1 was a torrid affair as CAS Honda rider Josh Coppins took the lead ahead of Joel Smets and Steve Ramon. Coppins tried to make a break on Smets, although a small mistake entering the start straight on lap 14 gave the lead to Smets. Coppins slipped over and dropped back to fourth position.
The opening moto of the MX2 class was a Yamaha domination, as Antonio Cairoli lead three other Yamahas into the opening lap. Behind Cairoli came Australian Andrew McFarlane, Davide Guarneri and Alessio Chiodi. The first non-Yamaha rider was RWJ Honda rider Erik Eggens, who held fifth place after one lap. As the race moved into the later stages of the race series leader Tyla Rattray had moved up from ninth on the first lap and charged into fourth place. Cedric Melotte had also struggled in the early going, but like Rattray moved from 10th on lap one to sixth position at the finish.
In the second MX2 race it was Scottish rider Billy Mackanzie from the Yamaha UK team who lead the race from start to finish, and proved his potential in the World Motocross championship is very much good. Mackenzie finished ahead of Andrew McFarlane and Alessio Chiodi.
Moto one MX1: 1. Mickael Pichon (Hon); 2. Ben Townley (KTM); 3. Brian Jorgensen (Yam); 4. Josh Coppins (Hon); 5. Steve Ramon (KTM); 6. James Noble (Hon); 7. Joel Smets (Suz); 8. Stefan Everts (Yam); 9. Mark Hucklebridge (Hon); 10. Aaron Bernardez (Hon); 11. Ken De Dijcker (Hon); 12. Paul Cooper (Hon); 13. Javier Vico Garcia (Hon); 14. Kevin Strijbos (Suz); 15. Antti Pyrhonen (TM)
Moto two MX1: 1. Joel Smets (Suz); 2. Stefan Everts (Yam); 3. Ben Townley (KTM); 4. Josh Coppins (Hon); 5. Steve Ramon (KTM); 6. Mickael Pichon (Hon); 7. Javier Vico Garcia (Hon); 8. Kornel Nemeth (Suz); 9. Kevin Strijbos (Suz); 10. Antti Pyrhonen (TM); 11. Danny Theybers (Suz); 12. Paul Cooper (Hon); 13. Mark Hucklebridge (Hon); 14. James Noble (Hon); 15. Claudio Federici (Yam)
MX1 overall: 1. Ben Townley (42); 2. Mickael Pichon (40); 3. Joel Smets (39); 4. Josh Coppins (36); 5. Stefan Everts (35); 6. Steve Ramon (32); 7. Javier Vico Garcia (22); 8. James Noble (22); 9. Mark Hucklebridge (20); 10. Brian Jorgensen (20); 11. Kevin Strijbos (19); 12. Paul Cooper (18); 13. Antti Pyrhonen (17); 14. Kornel Nemeth (13); 15. Aaron Bernardez (13)
World MX1 championship series points: 1. Mickael Pichn (84); 2. Joel Smets (80); 3. Stefan Everts (80/1); 4. Ben Townley (78/1); 5. Josh Coppins (61); 6. Kevin Strijbos (48); 7. Steve Ramon (45); 8. James Noble (45); 9. Paul Cooper (42); 10. Ken De Dijcker (40); 11. Brian Jorgensen (34); 12. Kornel Nemeth (27); 13. Danny Theybers (24); 14. Javier Vico Garcia (22); 15. Antti Pyrhonen (22)
Moto one MX2: 1. Antonio Cairoli (Yam) 2. Alessio Chiodi (Yam); 3. Erik Eggens (Hon); 4. Tyla Rattray (KTM); 5. Davide Guarneri (Yam); 6. Cedric Melotte (Yam); 7. Stephen Sword (Kaw); 8. Patrick Caps (Hon); 9. Matteo Bonini (Hon); 10. Wyatt Avis (Hon); 11. Mickael Maschio (Yam); 12. Manuel Monni (KTM); 13. Carl Nunn (KTM); 14. David Philippaerts (KTM); 15. Tom Church (Kaw)
Moto two MX2: 1. Billy Mackenzie (Yam); 2. Andrew McFarlane (Yam); 3. Alessio Chiodi (Yam); 4. Stephen Sword (Kaw); 5. Christophe Pourcel (Kaw); 6. Cedric Melotte (Yam); 7. Matteo Bonini (Hon); 8. Antonio Cairoli (Yam); 9. David Philippaerts (KTM); 10. Patrick Caps (Hon); 11. Johnny Aubert (Yam); 12. Carl Nunn (KTM); 13. Max Nagl (KTM); 14. Erik Eggens (Hon); 15. Mickael Maschio (Yam)
MX2 Overall: 1. Alessio Chiodi (42); 2. Antonio Cairoli (38); 3. Stephen Sword (32); 4. Cedric Melotte (30); 5. Erik Eggens (27); 6. Matteo Bonini (26); 7. Billy Mackenzie (25); 8. Patrick Caps (24); 9. Andrew McFarlane (22); 10. David Philippaerts (19); 11. Tyla Rattray (18); 12. Carl Nunn (17); 13. Christophe Pourcel (16); 14. Mickael Maschio (16); 15. Davide Guarneri (16)
World MX2 championship series points: 1. Cedric Melotte (74); 2. Antonio Cairoli (72); 3. Tyla Rattray (68/1win); 4. Alessio Chiodi (67/1); 5. Andrew McFarlane (57); 6. Erik Eggens (53); 7. Stephen Sword (53); 8. Carl Nunn (40); 9. Billy Mackenzie (38); 10. Patrick Caps (37); 11. Mickael Maschio (36); 12. Sebastien Pourcel (35); 13. Matteo Bonini (34); 14. Davide Philippaerts (25); 15. Anthony Boissiere (23)