Pichon, Smets, Maschio Win in Spain MX GP

Cycle News Staff | April 14, 2002

Team Geboers reigning 250cc World Champion Mickael Pichon won his second consecutive race in the 2002 World Championships with a gate-to-the-flag ride in the Telefonica Movistar Grand Prix of Spain; the second round of the FIM series.

The Frenchman assumed the lead of the first event here at Bellpuig from the third corner and sprinted away from current 125cc World Champion Jamie Dobb for most of the race to eventually win by 21 seconds.

Dobb managed to hold the runner-up spot for almost the entire moto, until the last lap when his KTM 250 machine broke allowing the Alessio Chiodi to assume second and Fred Bolley to collect third. Dobb had fought off challenges from Bolley (the Frenchman had crashed while third early in the event) and Josh Coppins, who was riding with an injured ankle and made several mistakes that finally dropped him to fifth.

Early crash victims were Pit Beirer and Gordon Crockard when they collided in the second turn. Beirer remounted and fought back to ninth place while Crockard had to retire after four laps, completing a miserable day for the 250 KTM squad.

”I have a lot of pain in my shoulder from a crash one week before this GP and could not really ride for long in the qualifying and practice sessions, so this win is a great result and is good for the future because I know that I am not yet 100% physically fit,” Pichon said.

Factory KTM rider and winner of the first round of the 500cc class in Valkenswaard, Joel Smets, was in no mood to entertain World Champion Stefan Everts ideas of possibly winning the Grand Prix of Spain. After decisively claiming the holeshot, Smets cleared off from his rival and fellow Belgian to win by 10 seconds.

After initially holding third for the first part of the race, local hero Javier Garcia Vico, although cheered on by 18,300 noisy fans, slipped back to fifth place after being passed by Andrea Bartolini and Marnicq Bervoets.

Team Berni Honda rider Bartolini gave the new Honda CR-450F four-stroke its first World Championship podium result.

Team Kawasaki rider Mickael Maschio won only his second race in an eight year GP career by resisting the challenge of KTM’s Philippe Dupasquier to take the 125cc Grand Prix of Spain; the most thrilling moto of the day.

The duel for the lead lasted until the final laps until Maschio made the break and triumphed at the scene of his first win back in 1995.

Team Champ KTM rider Erik Eggens collected another third position while team-mate Steve Ramon, pole position holder and winner of round one crashed twice and was classified down in 22nd.

Maschio, Pichon and Smets all lead their respective championship classes after two rounds.