It is in a new motorsport area, close to Klagenfurt in southern Austria, that the final round of the 2001 Motocross World Championships is organized this weekend. The substructure and the track are brand new, and the track design looks like a supercross one, with big jumps and a whoop section.
The weather was cloudy today, but it didn’t rain, and the promoter had to water the track after the 125cc qualifying races to prevent dust. In the first 125cc qualifying race, Sword got the holeshot, but Eric Eggens passed him on the opening lap and led the entire race, winning it followed by his teammate Kenneth Gundersen. Sword finished third followed by Breugelmans, Townley and Metcalfe, two young riders supported by KTM. In the second race, Bill got the holeshot, but Luigi Seguy passed him on the second lap and won the race. De Reuver was second, but he crashed in the whoop section and finished third behind Ramon, who got another poor start. Alex Puzar also had a bad start, coming back from 18th to fifth behind Patrick Caps. Alessio Chiodi didn’t start his qualifying race, as he had no bike from his team.
The track was watered before the 250cc qualifying session, and the track conditions were changing during the session. Finally, Mickael Pichon got another pole – his 10th this season – with an incredible advantage: close to two seconds (1.965 exactly) quicker than his Kiwi Corona Suzuki teammate Josh Coppins.
“I had a perfect lap, and that was not easy on the track after the watering,” said Pichon, who knows that the gap will be closer tomorrow. For his last GP on the Suzuki, Coppins offered the team the first qualifying 1-2 of the season. Claudio Federici finished third, followed by Gordon Crockard and Kovalainen, while Frederic Bolley, who crashed in the session and never got a fast lap, finished only 20th.
In the 500cc class, Stephan Everts won the first part of his duel with Joel Smets; he got his fourth pole of the season, followed by Smets, Garcia Vico, Andrea Bartolini and Marnicq Bervoets. Belgian Melotte is not racing this final round, due to a decision of his employer.
125 Qualifier 1: 1. Eggens; 2. Gundersen; 3. Sword; 4. Breugelmans; 5. Townley; 6. Metcalfe; 7. Sorby; 8. Leok; 9. Jorgensen; 10. Dobes; 11. Traversini; 12. Strijbos.
125 Qualifier 2: 1. Seguy; 2. Ramon; 3. De Reuver; 4. Caps; 5. Puzar; 6. Bill; 7. Stevanini; 8. Salaets; 9. Winstanley; 10. Pyrhonen; 11. Bricca; 12. Guidetty.
125 LCQ: 1. Oddenino; 2. Staufer; 3. Mackenzie; 4. Cervantes; 5. Zaremba; 6. Church.
250 Qualifier: 1. Pichon; 2. Coppins; 3. Federici; 4. Crockard; 5. Kovalainen; 6. Beirer; 7. Reed; 8. Aubert; 9. Demaria; 10. Jones.
500 Qualifier: 1. Everts; 2. Smets; 3. Garcia Vico; 4. Bartolini; 5. Bervoets; 6. Johansson; 7. Lindhe; 8. Dini; 9. Noble; 10. Aaltonen.