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Old 09-04-2007, 01:00 PM
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Arrow Suzuki And Ramon Poised For Title

Suzuki And Ramon Poised For Title

Team Suzuki's Steve Ramon qualified third for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands at the sandy Lierop circuit and stands on the threshold of his first title in the FIM MX1 Motocross World Championship.

The Belgian only has to score a point in the first moto tomorrow to be crowned after nearest rival Josh Coppins pulled out of the meeting due to a continuing shoulder injury.

The sandy ruts and bumps of Lierop provided its usual array of technical and physical demands on the riders. The weather was changeable with cloudy breaks bringing sunshine and the occasional light shower.

Ramon, still riding with a painful left wrist, changed his suspension setting during the day and also the engine mapping to obtain a sharper delivery from the RM-Z450 to cope with the draining effect of the sand. The 27 year old showed no signs of the pressure he faces on the eve of potentially becoming the new number one and was just over two-tenths-of-a-second away from serial pole position man Tanel Leok.

"Things went well today," he said. "We already had our sand set-up in place but we made a few changes and I felt good on the track. I only have to score points tomorrow but I am doing my best not to think about it. The motos will be tough and physically hard. It will be easy to make a mistake so I must keep concentrated."

Kevin Strijbos is currently third in the championship and 38 points behind his team-mate. He stands a mathematical chance of taking the crown if he beats Sebastien Pourcel and some misfortune befalls Ramon tomorrow. Strijbos at least will be aiming to take second spot and needs just 25 points to overtake Coppins. The 22 year old was second fastest in Timed Practice across the sand ripples and missed out on pole by a tenth of a second. He needed both practice sessions to fine tune the set-up of his machine.

"It was hard out there," he commented. "At first I was really struggling with the bike and the track. We changed the suspension and the front fork but then ended up going back to the original setting for Timed Practice. Things went better. I had some good lines and unfortunately my flying lap was ruined a little bit because a slower rider got in the way. I'm pleased that I was quick enough to almost take pole and the races will be hard work tomorrow for sure."

MX1 Timed Practice: 1. Tanel Leok (EST, Kawasaki), 2:00.537; 2. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:00.157; 3. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), +0:00.241; 4. Marc de Reuver (NED, Yamaha), +0:00.451; 5. Manuel Priem (BEL, TM), +0:00.672; 6. David Philippaerts (ITA, KTM), +0:01.105; 7. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), +0:01.809; 8. Billy Mackenzie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:02.151; 9. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.400; 10. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:02.595.

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