STRIJBOS STRUGGLING FOR FITNESS2007-06-06 13:04
Team Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos faces a fitness setback for this weekend and the Grand Prix of France at the St Jean d'Angely circuit near the west coast; the seventh round of 15 in the 2007 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Last week Strijbos felt some pain in his troublesome left knee, for which he underwent minor surgery prior to the opening Grand Prix. Further examination revealed damaged cartilage and the Belgian visited the operating table again and small fragments were removed from the joint. He began rehab on Monday although the knee is still sensitive and quite weak.
"I can only do things slowly and easily at the moment," he said. "I can cycle for 30 minutes but then I have to rest. I hope tomorrow I can do a little bit more and then try to ride on Thursday. I will go to France for sure but it will be hard to know how my knee will hold up; I guess I will only really know on Saturday."
The news is a blow to Strijbos' title aspirations on the RM-Z450. The 2006 runner-up gained a Grand Prix victory in Portugal for round three and has totalled two podiums this season so far. He currently lies 63 points behind series leader Josh Coppins.
Meanwhile Steve Ramon continued his impressive form in national competition. The 27 year old currently leads the Belgian series - as reigning champion - and won both motos for the overall victory at Heerde for the third round of the Dutch championship, which he also now fronts by 20 points over Tanel Leok.
The hillside setting at St Jean d'Angely makes a return to the World Championship schedule for the first time since 2005. The opposite banking to the track forms a natural amphitheatre and good viewing opportunities for the fans. In recent years the track has become worn and stony, with few racing lines, but the club - operating out of one of the most impressive permanent facilities on the World Championship schedule - has made great efforts to reinvigorate the surface. Additions such as the technical sand pit at the top of course and dedicated preparation of the soil has helped the venue regain credit on the last two occasions that St Jean has hosted the French Grand Prix.
In 2005 Strijbos was limited by the affects of a broken collarbone and deep vein thrombosis and could barely pick up points. Ramon was seventh overall.
Warm and positive weather conditions are predicted for the weekend although there might be a chance of showers on Sunday.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office
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