BMW Motorrad BoxerCup Magny-Cours preview

The M Coupe is up for grabs ! The final round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 will be taking place on September 14th in Magny-Cours on the occasion of the Bol d'Or 24-Hour race. After a break of over a month, the throaty sound of the Boxer ...

The M Coupe is up for grabs !

The final round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 will be taking place on September 14th in Magny-Cours on the occasion of the Bol d'Or 24-Hour race. After a break of over a month, the throaty sound of the Boxer powered R 1100 S machines is ready to shout again. In Oschersleben, for the previous round of the series, title defender Stéphane Mertens secured his second win of the season together with a comfortable 21-point lead, but injured himself during the Oschersleben 24 Hours on his way to clinching the 2002 Endurance world championship title. Will he be fit enough to claim in Magny-Cours his second consecutive BMW Motorrad BoxerCup title, and drive home with the much desired winner's M Coupe ? Having themselves recovered from past injuries, Thomas Hinterreiter and Markus Barth are definitely in the hunt and ready to challenge the Belgian's current domination. But they will also need to fend off the attacks of some extremely motivated French riders. Philippe Thomas, Matthieu Lagrive and François Ciciliani can work their way round Magny-Cours almost blindfolded, and you can expect them to perform well in front of their home crowd.

"Things are looking good for me," admitted Stéphane Mertens after defeating Austria's Thomas Hinterreiter by only 11 thousandths of a second in Oschersleben. "When I realised that Andy Hofmann was out almost halfway into the race, I said to myself that I must win this one. It was like riding the final round, and I put all my energy into it. Again it was a very close race, with Markus Barth as fast as ever especially in the last chicane, and Hinterreiter who finally joined the leading pack in the closing stages after an impressive comeback. I knew that the last lap was going to be extremely strategic again, and was afraid that if Markus was in the lead he would pull away in that chicane. But finally Thomas made things easier for me, taking the lead while I was able to benefit from his slipstream to push past him with only two corners to go."

"I know I only need to finish eleventh in Magny-Cours to secure my second BoxerCup title, and round up an exceptional season with the Endurance world title also. But I've learned that nothing's over until you're past the chequered flag, and a bit worried that I won't be fully fit. The shoulder blade I dislocated in Oschersleben shouldn't be so much of a problem, but the gash I have in one knee is quite deep and taking more time to heal than I expected."

Owing to the highest ever level of competition, the injury list has indeed been fluctuating this season with riders sometimes going over the limit. After missing the Oschersleben round following a broken ankle in Sachsenring, the extremely fast Roberto Panichi ­ he won in Mugello in June ­ will be back. Also on the list, young rookie Richard Cooper "S" has confirmed he would be in Magny-Cours despite breaking an arm during the summer. Will he be able to repeat his performance of Spa-Francorchamps, where he demonstrated his ease under pouring rain with a fine win ? The weather in Magny-Cours this coming weekend is quite uncertain.

Unfortunate throughout the season with three DNFs, Andy Hofmann is also looking to end well in the final round, although a broken finger could well hamper his motivation.

Motivation is the key word among the French delegation only days before "their" national round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002. Equal eleventh in the leader board and first of the French riders, Philippe Thomas has proven his potential, scoring points in every round but one. Also new to the series, World Supersport rider Matthieu Lagrive demonstrated he is one of the fastest riders in the field. Trust him to repeat his performance in Magny-Cours. What about François Ciciliani, the French police instructor who led the race last year with some experienced racing lines and outstanding braking manoeuvres ? Looks like we're in for an exceptional final round in Magny-Cours, with some of motorcycle racing's fastest VIP riders : ex-500cc Grand Prix riders Johan Stigefelt and Philippe Coulon, plus Dirk Raudies, Germany's 1993 125cc world champion.

The BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 ambassador Randy Mamola will obviously attend the racing weekend in Magny-Cours. Always extremely popular with the French crowds, he will as usual give out his enlightened advice to the BMW BoxerCup riders.

Official Time schedule

Friday, 13th of September 2002
14:00 ­ 14:25 : 1st Qualifying session
16:55 ­ 17:20 : 2nd Qualifying session

Saturday, 14th of September 2002
12:00 : Race (16 laps)


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About this article
Series Other bike
Drivers Randy Mamola , Johan Stigefelt , Stéphane Mertens