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Preview - Grand Prix of Spain
17 April 2008
Valkenswaard was an incredible weekend for Ken de Dycker, who took pole position and both race wins on his Teka Suzuki debut. The giant Belgium thus sits on top of the standings for the first rime, but how long can he stay there?
de Dycker's team-mate and defending world champion Steve Ramon is joint second in the standings - with KTM's Max Nagl - and heads to Spain in better physical form after 'flu at round one, while Nagl returns to the scene of his maiden MX1 podium in 2007.
CAS Honda's Billy Mackenzie sits an early fourth in the standings on his new factory CR450F, while Yamaha Monster Motocross riders David Philippaerts and Josh Coppins will be also up for podiums in Spain.
David Philippaerts ended a solid fifth at Valkenswaard despite a collision with his Coppins that caused the Kiwi to fall. The latter was already recovering from a right foot injury but carried on to finish seventh and was the overall winner in Spain last year, after a dominating double moto win.
Manuel Priem leads the Kawasaki challenge in seventh, with Kevin Strijbos and Sebastien Pourcel looking to make a much bigger impression this weekend.
The leading home rider will once again be Jonathan Barragan, who holds tenth in the standings for AXO KTM Silver Action after failing to score points in Valkenswaard's race one - but was a superb second in race two.
With an injury plagued 2007 season behind his broad shoulders, Red Bull KTM's Tyla Rattray went on to take his first GP win in almost two years in Holland, winning both heats.
Finishing twice runner up to Rattray was reigning double MX2 champion and 2007 Bellpuig winner Tony Cairoli, who will try to steer his Yamaha Red Bull De Carli machine to victory this weekend on terrain Cairoli likes more than sand specialist Rattray.
The latter was third on last year's podium, but never entered into the exciting Cairoli-Christophe Pourcel duel.
Beursfoon Suzuki's Erik Eggens was his solid self on the home sand of Valkenswaard but he needs to be more consistent than he was in 2007 if he wants to climb up the Spanish rostrum. Last year Eggens crashed out of moto two after a positive third from the opening moto.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Tommy Searle saw his victory hopes hit by accidents in Holland, but the 2007 runner up still has 14 rounds left to build on his current fourth place.
Bellpuig will also mark the start of the 2008 FIM Veterans World Cup.
The series dedicated to the Motocross legendary riders started in 2006 and has previously visited Namur (in 2006 and in 2007) and Donington Park (in 2007).
The FIM Veterans World Cup has grown into a very popular series throughout the years and currently sees former three time 500cc World Champion Dave Thorpe defending the Title.
The strong Brit will see also former GP winner Charles Sun challenging him for victory, as well as 2007 and 2006 Veteran class Cup winners Tony Cooksley (2007) and Marc van den Brink (2006).
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