STRIJBOS TO MISS BULGARIAN GP2007-06-14 19:09
Team Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos will not travel to Sevlievo for the Grand Prix of Bulgaria and the eighth round of the FIM MX1 World Championship this weekend. The 21 year old's injured left knee requires further rehab and he has been ruled out the trip to south east Europe.
The Portuguese Grand Prix winner saw specialists yesterday (Wednesday) in Belgium and with continued bleeding inside the joint as result of the small cartilage operation almost two weeks ago has been ordered to rest for three days with a check-up planned for next Monday.
Strijbos attempted the French Grand Prix at St Jean d'Angely last weekend and finished outside of the points in the first moto before deciding with the team not to start the second race. "I am in a position now where I just have to rest to let my knee heal," he said. "I have to keep my leg straight for three days, no walking, and then I will go back to the doctors on Monday. He will either let me resume some gentle training or I will have an operation. If I need more surgery then the Grand Prix of Sweden could be doubtful. I just want to get my leg healthy again now and that is the most important thing if I want to think about racing to anywhere near my potential."
"This could be a short story or it could be a long one and we will not know until next week," said team principal Sylvain Geboers. "The most important thing for us is his health. We want Kevin to come back and race like 'Kevin Strijbos' not as a rider struggling at the back of the field."
In complete contrast team-mate Steve Ramon is currently on a season-high. The leader of the Dutch and Belgian domestic series' moved up to second in the World Championship standings thanks to his success in France where he clinched his second career MX1 chequered flag and the runner-up position overall.
The former World Champion trails Josh Coppins by 90 points with 400 still to race for in the remaining eight Grand Prix and sixteen motos. He has now walked the podium three times this season with the RM-Z 450, taking his tally for a season and a half with Suzuki to eleven; a ratio of a top three result from every two GPs.
"After that win I feel like I just want to get straight to the next race. I am confident at the moment and happy with the bike," he said. "I enjoy racing at Sevlievo. I don't know if they have changed the track for this year but I do know that I will be strong there. 90 points is a long way in the championship especially with Josh being so consistent but you never know what can happen. My main goal is to win some GPs this year."
The excellent venue at Sevlievo was the recipient of 'Best Organiser' at the 2006 FIM Off-road Awards in Monaco last year. The 2007 edition of the government-backed Bulgarian Grand Prix is the fourth incarnation after races in 2002, 2003 and 2006. The wide and fast layout makes the most of the steep hillside setting with many step-ups and downs interspersing the vertical drags and drops. The terrain is hard-packed and can be slippery. Twelve months ago Strijbos and Ramon both finished on the podium with second and third positions respectively.
Each Bulgarian Grand Prix has taken place in high temperatures and the forecast for the weekend predicts clouds and a chance of showers but in warm conditions nonetheless.
MX1 World Championship (after 7 of 15 rounds): 1. Joshua Coppins (NZL, Yamaha), 321 points; 2. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), 231 p.; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), 211 p.; 4. David Philippaerts (ITA, KTM), 186 p.; 5. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 184 p.; 6. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, KTM), 173 p.; 7. Mike Brown (USA, Honda), 169 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Kawasaki), 159 p.; 9. Billy Mackenzie (GBR, Kawasaki), 154 p.; 10. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), 150 p
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office
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