The following release is from Yamaha…
Stefan Everts rode his Yamaha YZ450 FM to the 80th GP victory of his career at the opening GP of the 2005 Motocross World Championship in Zolder, Belgium. A dominant ride in the first race handed Stefan the win in the opening race and was followed by a third place in the second heat. Mickael Pichon (Honda) finished second in both races to claim second overall, Joel Smets (Suzuki) won the second race and completed the podium. Everts’ team mate Brian Jorgensen had a tough race weekend and finished 12th overall.
The 2005 Motocross World Championship could not have hoped for better kick-off conditions with a 14.000 strong crowd on Sunday, blazing sunshine and a challenging, technical track awaiting the riders. Home rider Kevin Strijbos grabbed the holeshot, but Mickael Pichon (Honda) quickly took command in race one. Strong race tactics saw Yamaha L&M Motocross’ Stefan Everts going from strength to strength after what was not the best of starts. The eight-time world champion was third after four laps, and passed MX2 world champion Ben Townley for second in lap seven. When Everts passed Pichon on the inside of a tight left hand drop just halfway past the race, the French star had no answer. Stefan controlled the race and rode to an impressive first race win of the season before Pichon and Townley. Belgians Ken De Dijcker (Honda) and Joel Smets (Suzuki) rounded out the top five. Team Yamaha De Carli’s Claudio Federici damaged his front brake in the first corner and was forced to retire.
Strijbos claimed the second MX1 holeshot of the day as well, with his team mate Smets in tow. Five-time world champion Smets quickly moved into the lead, with Pichon chasing behind him. When Everts moved up from an initial sixth to fourth behind Spanish talent Jonathan Barragan (KTM) it only seemed a matter of time before Everts would continue his march forward. However Barragan proved tough to pass and the race ended in the same order with Smets taking his comeback win after an injury marred 2004, Federici fought the pain of an ankle injury sustained on Saturday to finish 13th.
The second round of the championship takes place in Bellpuig, Spain next in two weeks time (17th of April).
Stefan Everts (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) – overall winner
“I felt strong in the first heat and I was able to control my race even after a bad start. I found a couple of really good lines around the track, but near the end of the race I felt that I had to dig really deep to come back. This was probably the reason why I lacked the energy and power to push in the second race. I got stuck in fourth behind Barragan and only until I found some good lines at the back of the track I was able to make a pass on him. Obviously I’m happy with the end result today and hopefully I can still improve on my condition as the season goes on.”
Brian Jorgensen (Yamaha L&M Motocross Team) – 12th overall
“Twelfth overall is not exactly a great result, but at the end of the day I’m still quite happy because I tried everything I could today. Physically I have been working hard to get in shape for the first GP, but I also need to rebuild my mental strength. Half race distance I went over the handle bars and I damaged my rear brake. After that I lost my confidence to push hard. I missed my start in the second race and because I did not feel completely comfortable on the track I did not want to take any risks.”
Race classification MX1 1 S. Everts Yamaha BEL 40′ 6.703
2 M. Pichon Honda FRA +2.397
3 B. Townley KTM NZL +4.833 4 K. De Dijcker Honda BEL +14.200
5 J. Smets Suzuki BEL +16.362
6 J. Coppins Honda NZL +38.830
7 K. Strijbos Suzuki BEL +49.262
8 P. Cooper Honda GBR +57.319
9 T. Leok Kawasaki EST +1′ 3.228
10 N. Kornel Suzuki HUN +1′ 5.764
11 D. Theybers Suzuki BEL +1′ 7.198 Race 2:
1 J. Smets Suzuki BEL 40′ 8.222
2 M. Pichon Honda FRA +17.965
3 S. Everts Yamaha BEL +43.679
4 J. Barragan KTM ESP +50.583
5 B. Townley KTM NZL +1′ 3.764
6 K. Strijbos Suzuki BEL +1′ 5.724
7 J. Noble Honda GBR +1′ 7.776
8 B. Jorgensen Yamaha DNK +1′ 17.494
9 K. De Dijcker Honda BEL +1′ 32.036
10 P. Cooper Honda GBR +1′ 37.606
11 J. Coppins Honda NZL +1′ 41.579