McFarlane sixth at Sugo World motocross action returned to Japan for the first time in a decade on May 28-29, at the Yamaha owned and operated circuit of Sugo. On a brilliantly prepared layout, Australian Andrew McFarlane (Ricci Yamaha...
McFarlane sixth at Sugo
World motocross action returned to Japan for the first time in a decade on May 28-29, at the Yamaha owned and operated circuit of Sugo.
On a brilliantly prepared layout, Australian Andrew McFarlane (Ricci Yamaha YZ250F), who has won the last two GPs in Belgium and Germany, wasn't able to continue the same level of authority, and finished with fourth and ninth placings in the two MX2 races.
However, Yamaha still remained the dominant marque in its 'home' race, with seven of the top eight runners all YZ250 mounted -- led by impressive 21-year-old Billy Mackenzie. McFarlane was sixth overall, with a crash in the second moto putting the Queenslander off his game.
"I felt good in the first moto, but it was not an easy track," said McFarlane, who was expecting the technical layout to be to his liking. "I just ran out of time in that one, which was a shame as I was catching (third-placed) Cedric Melotte.
"In the second moto I started okay, but then I just lost the back-end out of the whoops. It put me off my rhythm and I struggled the whole race.
"I am disappointed... but that's the way it goes. Now I will go home and prepare to take a good result in the next round in England."
The opening MX2 race saw championship leader Antonio Cairoli (YZ250F) take advantage of a small Mackenzie error to claim the win -- his fifth of the year. Mackenzie held on for second, with his consolation the fastest lap of the day (1:51.341) across both world championship classes. Cedric Melotte (YZ250F) was third from McFarlane and Kawasaki's Stephen Sword (KX250F).
The latter lifted a few cogs in race two, finishing second behind the rampant Mackenzie, with Melotte completing a pair of thirds from Cairoli and Alessio Chiodo (YZ250F).
With 11 rounds still remaining, Cairoli now has 217pts, ahead of Chiodi (203), Sword (190), McFarlane (185) and an ominous Melotte (183).
While the MX2 races reached few highs, the MX1 affairs were absolute crackers. Race two was the highlight, where the positional changes in a five-rider - Mickael Pichon, New Zealanders Josh Coppins and Ben Townley, Joel Smets and Stefan Everts - freight train were just too numerous to track.
Townley's engine eventually expired on his KTM 450SXF, with Everts (Yamaha YZ450F) the victor from Smets (Suzuki RM-Z450) and polesitter Pichon (Honda CRF450R) -- the trio separated by just 2.500sec.
Pichon easily accounted for Everts in race one, with Townley, last year's MX2 champion, third from Coppins and Steve Ramon (450SXF).
Everts claimed overall honours, to add to his victory in the Suzuka-hosted Japanese round of the 1995 world 250cc title.
"In one way I was a little relived that Pichon won the first moto because I was ready to see what would happen in the second race," said Everts. "I knew what I had to do later in the afternoon, and I kept the pressure on Mickael from the first lap.
"I am so happy for Yamaha, because I think this is one of the most important days of the year for them and to win it in such a spectacular way is great. The fans won't forget this grand prix in a hurry."
Everts is now 11pts (251 to 240) in front of Pichon, followed by Smets (204), Coppins (203) and Townley (168).
The championship now continues at Matchams Park in Great Britain this weekend (June 4-5). For more information, including championship standings, visit www.motocrossmx1.com