21 May 2006
Everts, Mackenzie big in Japan.
Stefan Everts and Billy Mackenzie gave Yamaha a double home victory, by taking overall MX1 and MX2 honours in Sunday's Grand Prix of Japan at an excellently prepared Sugo race track.
Reigning nine-times world champion Everts maintained his perfect 2006 record - in his final Japanese Grand Prix - with ease, the Belgian comfortably winning his two races after converting pole position into a holeshot on both occasions.
"I won my first title in '91 in Japan, and to end my career in Japan with a win is a great feeling for me," said Stefan, who will retire at the end of the season. "I've been racing so many times in Japan that I know many people from several manufacturers and once again I want to thank all these Japanese people who supported me during my career.
"You told me that I won everything since the beginning of season, that's true but I never look back, I will have time later. At the moment I always look ahead, and I have to keep this form. I would like to win everything this season, we'll see what happens but that's my goal. Today was a special day for me, I am happy to win as Yamaha is really much involved in this organisation and that's a good way to thanks them for the support they gave me," he added.
Countryman Ken de Dycker finished 'nearest' to Everts in race one, with another Belgian - Suzuki's Steve Ramon - taking the runner-up spot in race two. That gave Ramon, who was fourth in race one, second overall while CAS Honda rider de Dycker was able to celebrate his first GP podium despite managing just eighth in race two.
Everts now leads the 2006 championship standings by a commanding 61 points over Kawasaki's Tanel Leok, who finished third in race one but fell and tangled with a trackside fence early in race two. The Estonian eventually recovered to 12th.
Meanwhile, the MX2 class was once again far more competitive, with Briton Mackenzie repeating his 2005 success by winning race one, then finishing third -behind KTM's Marc de Reuver and race winner world champion Antonio Cairoli - in the second outing.
"It's an incredible feeling to come here in Japan and to leave with the win!" said Billy. "We've been working hard on the bike, we got some new parts from Rinaldi this weekend, and the bike was working really good. The track was really nice, almost perfect you know and I need now to work on my starts. I just came here with my mechanic, it was good as I had no pressure from anybody. I want to be top three every weekend now, I know that I can do it."
de Reuver and Cairoli were leading the first race when both crashed during the opening lap, but recovered to finish third and fourth in the moto – and third and second overall.
Fourth overall after a disastrous start in the second race was Christophe Pourcel, who is now leading the series by two points over de Reuver and fifteen over former world championship leader Tyla Rattray, who finished sixth in race one but fell in race two and retired with a damaged shoulder.
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