MOTO-X » 28 June 2007
Preview - Grand Prix of Sweden.
The Glimminge Mototstadion is friendly ground for current championship leaders Josh Coppins (MX1) and Antonio Cairoli (MX2) – although KTM's David Philippaerts will be one to watch in the premier class, having won the MX2 round last season.
The Italian has already tasted victory in his debut MX1 season, and has been outside the top five on only three occasions - resulting in third place in the championship, with Steve Ramon in his sights, heading in to this weekend.
However, Philippaerts also needs to keep an eye behind with fellow rookie Sebastien Pourcel, of the GPKR team, currently equal on points. Philippaerts and Pourcel are the only rookies currently in the top five, but their fight may give Coppins and Ramon an advantage.
Coppins, of Yamaha Motocross, currently enjoys a huge championship lead of almost 100 points; the Kiwi being the only rider to have been on the podium in each round this season, while runner-up Ramon, of Suzuki, has only four podium finishes so far.
The Belgian is nonetheless improving race-by-race, whereas team-mate Kevin Strijbos suffered missed the last round due to a knee injury - costing him second in the points - but will be back this weekend.
Philippaerts' team-mate Jonathan Barragan was incredibly fast in Sevlievo, as he was in Valkenswaard, but a shoulder injury has hindered his performances in between the two events. The Spaniard is now close to his best, and was strong in Uddevalla last year, when he chased Stefan Everts for victory in the opening heat.
Mike Brown is seventh behind Strijbos in the championship, but has been working his way up the top five ever since his heat victory at Sugo. On the other hand, team mate Ken De Dycker is rounding off the top nine, sandwiched in between Kawasaki riders Tanel Leok - eighth - and Billy Mackenzie, in tenth.
The MX2 class also has a runaway leader in Yamaha de Carli's Antonio Cairoli, but the category is witnessing a dogfight for the runner up spot between GPKR's reigning world champion Christophe Pourcel and KTM Red Bull's Tyla Rattray.
Cairoli has won seven of the eight grands prix, and was second to Pourcel on the only occasion when he didn't win. Cairoli is taking his revenge for last year, when his tile was snatched from him by Pourcel.
The FIM Women's Motocross World Cup collective will also be back to action for the second of three rounds of the series; Larissa Papenmeier is the current leader, but she will face a tough opposition from runner up Maria Franke and Livia Lancelot. Defending Champion Catherine Prumm and 2005 World Cup Winner Stephanie Laier will need to make up for a disappointing opening round in Teutschenthal, Germany.
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