"Panick" Panichi wins home round Roberto Panichi secured an epic victory in Mugello for the second round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002. Starting from the second row of the grid, the Italian rider almost led from start to finish, despite...
"Panick" Panichi wins home round
Roberto Panichi secured an epic victory in Mugello for the second round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002. Starting from the second row of the grid, the Italian rider almost led from start to finish, despite fierce opposition from a pack of five riders. The ex- Superbike rider now leads the series on equal points with Donington Park winner Markus Barth.
Ex-World SBK rider Roberto Panichi leads the championship after winning home round in Mugello
After a superb move in the ultimate corner, title defender Stéphane Mertens was the first to cross the line, 14/1000 ahead of Panichi, only to be disqualified later in the evening when his machine failed to pass the post-race technical check.
From the very start it looked like any of seven riders (Mertens, Barth, Fuchs, Hofmann, Hinterreiter and Legrelle) could get away with the race in the sun-struck Tuscan hills surrounding the Mugello racetrack.
Markus Barth stood in second position in the opening two laps, only to lose four positions down the field after a minor mistake. After securing the race fastest time on lap 5 3 tenths faster than pole position, which says a lot for the pace - Legrelle also paid cash his mistake as he charged into the gravel on lap eleven. He was nevertheless able to re-join the race and finish 7th.
VIP rider Jürgen Fuchs remembered his Grand Prix days and produced an impressive performance throughout the weekend. Now a German Eurosport commentator, "Fuchsy" first secured pole position with a impressive 2'07''893 a full three seconds faster compared to last year's BoxerCup venue in Mugello ! "I think that the Metzeler tyres which we use this year give the riders more feedback, and therefore provide more confidence," explained the ex-250cc Grand Prix rider.
Fuchs was determined to finish in the highest possible position, in opposition to other guest rider Jorge "Aspar" Martinez who took an easy start. The multiple world champion nevertheless moved up from 15th position on lap one to 9th after a good scrap against British youngster Richard Cooper "S" and Endurance ace Brian Morrison.
After a disappointing Donington round where he failed to complete one lap owing to technical failure, Andy Hofmann was back on the pace in Mugello. Starting from the first row of the grid, the tall Swiss moved back and fourth from second to fifth position throughout the race, and secured a fine fourth position finish. Fernando Cristobal, one of last year's top contenders (runner-up to Mertens), again failed to score points when his bike failed after 8 laps. Calasso, Ciciliani and Buylinckxs were also non finishers after luckily escaping unhurt from crashes. Jakob Hobi was a non-starter following an ankle injury after a qualifying spill.
The next round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2002 will take place in two weeks, on the occasion of the Catalunya Grand Prix (June 15th, 2002). Expect some very close racing again, plus loads of sunshine, and hopefully some prestigious guest riders.