B-Moto’s Antti Pyrhönen is now second in MX3 World ChampionshipPublished on 16.4.2012 8:52
ROUND TWO: CASTELNEAU DE LEVIS FRANCE
ANTTI MOVES TO 2nd PLACE IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
It seemed the riders took the poor weather from Holland to France as rainy days had soaked the track in south France near Toulouse. But in qualifications the sun came through to dry out the track. Track conditions were completely opposite to those in Valkenswaard with a rock hard ground and stones to make it really slippery for the participants.
Antti: “The rest of the championship will be on hard tracks so we have to get our act together and race for every point.”
With his score in Castelneau de Levis we now see Antti in second place in the title race behind Austrian Matthias Walkner. The top guys in Valkenswaard race did only that race and in France a handful of MX1 and local rider did their only MX3 race. All of them don’t ride the full ten events, they won’t bother Antti and the regular MX3 racers for the title race.
A handful of MX1 riders used their free weekend to get a wildcard for this Castelnau de Levis MX3 and some of them set the pace in the qualification race that was won by local Cedric Soubeyras in his aggressive style in front of Rui Goncalves and Jonathan Barragan, two of the regular MX1 pilots. Also in action several fast Frenchman including Gregory Aranda and Milko Potisek, the number 2 in last year’s World MX3 Championship. “If I can help take points away from his opponents then I will help Antti,” said the likeable Potisek.
A HANDFULL OF CHALLENGERS
Champion Julien Bill is not defending his title in 2012. Number 3 from year, Martin Michek, had a zero score in Valkenswaard due to weird technical problems but sure Antti has him on the list of main opponents for the title.
Antti: “Yes sure Michek is one of my main challengers, I also see Matthias Walkner, Günther Schmidinger, Michael Staufer and Gercar Klemen as the dangerous guys, maybe a few more. Now that we have Valkenswaard behind us the deep sand tracks are done. We had been testing our bikes on tracks in Belgium and Holland with similar conditions. Due to the bad weather in Italy we had no opportunity to do our training on hard tracks. After the problems with my number one bike in Holland we got some new parts to test and then started our 1100 km travel south to the next race.”
“In the morning’s free practice the bike felt ok but in the afternoon qualifying race when the sun came out I did not feel so comfortable. The track became slippery and demanding so I took the whole day more or less as training. In the beginning the track was muddy but it dried out and it became a difficult qualifying.”
WHO WILL DO ALL MX3 EVENTS?
“You can see today as last week that some riders are keen to race occasionally in MX3 and those are good riders. These guys in the top in Holland were sand specialist and this World Championship is more between the fast guys on the hard tracks. I count nobody out and focus on my own riding and be on top of my game with my many years of experience on all kind of tracks,” said Antti.
You did not seem very happy or motivated in the qualification race where you took 11th, things not working your way?
“No, finishing eleventh is not really where I should be. We miss some training on hard pack tracks but it is no excuse, this was my program. After France we go home and do lots of time to train and test on hard tracks. There are good and fast tracks in Finland and maybe we go to Italy before the next round in Bulgaria in May.”
YOUNGSTER LEARNING THE GAME
Ludde Söderström was learning every lap and finished qualification in 20th spot. Then the youngster on the AP24RACING had to wash the dishes after lunch, one of the jobs for a newcomer on the team.
“I found it pretty tough on this track, it is very slippery and although I had a year on the MX2 bike I can feel that I miss experience. I need more training and testing on hard tracks to set up a better suspension and tires. I can see on the track that I brake ten meters earlier then the fast guys. We have been ten weeks on the road and I am really looking forward to returning back to Finland. There we have several hard tracks to do more testing and build my confidence.”
Missing today were the top 3 guys from Valkenswaard, Wouts, Martens and Klein Kromhof, the last one dislocated his shoulder. It will take a few MX3 meetings before it becomes clear which riders will really do all events and start the fight for the gold medal.
Bad weather stayed away for Sunday and racing was pretty hot with just one rain shower between the motos. Antti had a good start in moto one but had to shut the gas in the corner when someone pushed him wide and he lost a couple of places. His first laps were not top level and our friend dropped back out of the top ten. He sure was not top shape in the opening stages, then found his drive and gained back places to finish ninth. Teammate Ludde was really struggling after a bad start and finished far behind.
In the second start Antti was not as good as in the first race but nevertheless he showed more spirit and rode a lot better this time. At the end he finished eight but when we take away all those riders who only do one race we can say that he took two ‘virtual’ podium positions. And that made him move into second place in the championship after two events. Matthias Walkner had a better first race then Antti and was handed the red plate as leader in MX3.
Antti: “Of course that red plate was one of my targets today but we lack the base to do better at this stage on hard tracks. Castelneau de Levis is really one of the worst tracks in the series this year. The track is rock hard and very slippery which makes it very tricky. I was not happy with my riding in the opening race and with a much better second race I return home with a good feeling and confidence. When the gate dropped I started with a wheelie but every lap I rode sharp and stayed focused and aggressive to stay in the game. Already after 4 motos we can see who are the guys hungry for the MX3 World title and I am one of them.”
Ludde: “After two MX3 events I know that this is a good class for me. At same time I must admit that I am disappointed with my position after the first 4 motos. I had the speed in Holland but crashed and lost points. Here in France the conditions were very tough and I could not match the speed of other guys.”
“But positive is that I did not crash today and gained a lot more experience. I need to work on the set-up of the bike, a bit of everything but mainly the suspension. It did not make me feel comfortable although we tried out several changes without making progress. Riding more on hard tracks and my speed and my feeling with the bike will improve.”
“In the first race I started almost last and could not pass anyone. In the second race I had a better start and it felt I was racing with some guys although for a good part my gear lever got bend in the mud and the engine was stuck in third gear. Plenty of work to do when we are back in Finland.”
Moto One: 1. Soubeyras (FRA); 2. Barragan (ESP); 3. Aranda (FRA); 4. Goncalves (POR); 5. Potisek (FRA); 6. Michek (CZE); 7. Walkner (AUT); 8. Schmidinger (AUT); 9. ANTTI PYRHÖNEN (FIN); 10. Klemen (SLO); 27. LUDDE SÖDERBERG (FIN)
Moto Two: 1. Aranda; 2. Soubeyras; 3. Barragan; 4. Potisek; 5. Michek; 6. Schmidinger; 7. Goncalves; 8. ANTTI PYRHÖNEN; 9. Staufer; 10. Klemen; 23. SÖDERBERG