Pichon Takes German Pole

Paul Carruthers | April 27, 2002

World Champion Mickael Pichon took pole position for tomorrow’s 250cc Grand Prix of Europe in Teutschenthal, Germany with what he described as a lap that was “almost perfect.”

The Team Suzuki man recorded a 1:52.2 lap to head the timing screens and be the quickest rider on the German circuit throughout the entire day. The Frenchman only clocked two “fast” laps and the second effort was enough to deprive countryman and rival Frederic Bolley from gaining pole for the second year in succession. Bolley, on his Rinaldi Yamaha, headed Josh Coppins on the factory Honda. Coppins, on one of his favorites circuits, together with the two Frenchman was the only other rider to get under the 1:53 barrier. Johnny Aubert, Kenneth Gundersen, Jamie Dobb and Paul Cooper rounded off the top seven.

“I wanted an early fast lap in case it started to rain through qualifying,” commented Pichon. “The weather did not get any worse and when I saw Frederic make a better I time I went out again, pushed really hard and managed to go over a second faster. I had a clear track and a good chance to go for a lap that was almost perfect.”

Pichon seemed unbothered by the shoulder injury he has been suffering with recently and also appeared unconcerned about the deteriorating weather conditions.

“If it rains even more then that will work in my favor, but if it’s a dry race then it doesn’t matter either way. My shoulder is not giving much trouble here but my injured finger is still bothering me,” he remarked.

Joel Smets, of KTM and holder of a 100 percent record in the 500cc World Championship so far after winning the first two rounds, notched his second pole position of the season in Teutschenthal and also survived a horrendous high-speed crash towards the end this afternoon’s qualifying. The Belgian lost the front end of his machine and tumbled into the catch fencing at high speed. Smets was lucky not to be hit by his KTM as it spun and looped dramatically into the air.

“The throttle stuck wide open and I had to grab the front brake which sent me straight onto the floor. It was a big crash and one I’m not sure I want to see again on TV!” he said.

Smets headed World Champion Stefan Everts and teammate Yves Demaria, who is starting his first GP of the season after coming back from injury sustained in practice for round one.

Winner of the second round in the 125cc Motocross World Championships, Mickael Maschio, followed his excellent race victory two weeks ago in Spain by claiming pole position.

The 29-year-old finished the qualifying session solely for the top 10 riders in the championship a second faster than Patrick Caps and his KTM. Three more machines from the Austrian manufacturer completed the top five with Ben Townley in third just ahead of factory duo Steve Ramon and Erik Eggens.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.