Ramon scores first MXGP win on RM-Z450

Published: 11 June 2007

Team Suzuki's Steve Ramon scored his second career MX1 moto victory and his first on the works RM-Z450 at a hot and spectator-packed St Jean d'Angely for the Grand Prix of France today in front of a crowd of 28,000.

Ramon and his works four-stroke tussled with championship leader and Yamaha’s race one winner Josh Coppins in Moto2 before pulling away to toast his first chequered flag since the inaugural MX1 outing at Zolder, Belgium in 2004.

Combined with his first moto result of third, the Belgian finished second overall and also moved up to second in the standings.

St Jean returned to the FIM calendar after hosting a round of the 2005 series. The track presented little difficulty to the riders due to its fast and hard-packed terrain. There were relatively few jumps and the small ruts and bumps were a world away from the rough surface offered at Sugo two weeks ago. However, the temperatures and stuffy air, along with the demands on the rider's concentration - the smallest slip affecting the leader-board due to the similar speeds of the front running group - meant that the Grand Prix motos were not an easy prospect.

Ramon was content with fourth in timed practice especially with only two seconds dividing the top 20 riders. The former World Champion didn't get the best of starts in the first moto but found some effective lines and speed to work his way through the top five to third position; his fourth appearance in the top three this year.

It was a preview to a similarly forceful performance in the second outing. He caught and passed Coppins and Billy Mackenzie and had to deal with a committed challenge from the former before seizing on a break in the last third of a sun-kissed moto to ease clear of his pursuer.

It was a long overdue success for the current leader of the Belgian and Dutch Championships. "Today my riding was going really well," said Ramon. "In the second moto my start was better than in the first. I had to push hard to come to the front and when I was behind Josh it was not easy to follow his pace but I could see some places where I was quicker. When I took the lead I was happy that I could make a small gap. I need to work a bit more on my starts. It will be hard to beat Josh in the championship because he is so consistent; but today it was really close."

MX1 Moto1: 1. Joshua Coppins (NZL, Yamaha), 39:07.170; 2. David Philippaerts (ITA, KTM), +0:09.603; 3. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), +0:15.878; 4. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:22.818; 5. Billy Mackenzie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:24.787; 6. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, KTM), +0:27.354; 7. Mike Brown (USA, Honda), +0:28.635; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Kawasaki), +0:30.757; 9. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:43.369; 10. James Noble (GBR, Honda), +0:49.896. 21. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), -1 lap.

MX1 Moto2: 1. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), 39:35.456;  2. Joshua Coppins (NZL, Yamaha), +0:04.252; 3. Tanel Leok (EST, Kawasaki), +0:11.142; 4. Billy Mackenzie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:13.298; 5. David Philippaerts (ITA, KTM), +0:13.914; 6. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, KTM), +0:22.373; 7. Mike Brown (USA, Honda), +0:25.936; 8. Manuel Priem (BEL, TM), +0:38.659; 9. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:41.125; 10. Marvin van Daele (BEL, Honda), +0:41.899

MX1 Overall result: 1. Joshua Coppins (NZL, Yamaha), 47 points; 2. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), 45 p.; 3. David Philippaerts (ITA, KTM), 38 p.; 4. Billy Mackenzie (GBR, Kawasaki), 34 p.; 5. Tanel Leok (EST, Kawasaki), 33 p.; 6. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 30 p.; 8. Mike Brown (USA, Honda), 28 p.; 9. Manuel Priem (BEL, TM), 22 p.; 10. Kornel Nemeth (HUN, Suzuki), 19 p. 30. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), 0 p

MX1 World Championship (after 7 of 15 rounds): 1. Joshua Coppins (NZL, Yamaha), 321 points; 2. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), 231 p.; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), 211 p.; 4. David Philippaerts (ITA, KTM), 186 p.; 5. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 184 p.; 6. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, KTM), 173 p.; 7. Mike Brown (USA, Honda), 169 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Kawasaki), 159 p.; 9. Billy Mackenzie (GBR, Kawasaki), 154 p.; 10. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), 150 p.