It was an emotional day on the Karntenring in the south of Austria with Stefan Everts earning his fifth World Championship after finishing second behind his rival Joel Smets in today’s 500cc Grand Prix.
Everts grabbed the holeshot, but lost the lead to Smets in the second corner. Everts regained the lead on the fifth lap, but Smets again countered. Everts, however, only needed two points to earn the title and he ended up with 20 for his second-place finish
“This week was more relaxing for me than the week before in Italy,” said Everts during the post-race press conference. “I knew that Joel would try to disturb me and he tried, but I was always relaxed on the bike. I passed him in the fifth lap, but let him pass again later. In the third lap to the end I felt the emotion, but not for a long time as I stay focused on my lines. I was not expecting the title at the beginning of the season as I was doing my first real season in the 500, and with riders like Joel or Marnicq [Bervoets] I knew that he would be a difficult challenge. I want to thanks all my team, my girlfriend Kelly, my dad Harry, my trainer Willie and my uncle Pierre for their strong support.”
Winner of his fourth GP in a row, Smets did his best but his physical problems earlier in the season cost him the title. But with his great results in the last part of the season he proved that he will be a strong competitor next year.
The 250cc GP was another Mickael Pichon show. Only sixth in the second corner, Pichon stormed through to win his 10th GP of the season.