The life of Josh Coppins is about to take yet another change in direction.
The 15-season Grand Prix motocross veteran closed out 2009 with an MX1 world ranking of No.6, below what he would have liked but still an amazing result for a man who is the eldest rider racing at this year’s Motocross of Nations in Italy.
And, with an impressive fourth in MX1 qualifying yesterday, Coppins showed he still has plenty to offer the sport and more GP podiums are certainly on the cards.
Coppins is nearing the end of his GP career and the predictions were that he would exit Europe and settle Downunder, racing in both Australia and New Zealand and perhaps running training schools from his base at Motueka.
But those plans have changed and he now prepares for another season racing the MX1 world championships, perhaps for the Aprilia factory.
“It’s probably the worst-kept secret but I can’t really officially confirm that I will be racing for Aprilia yet. The contract is not signed and it could yet fall over.
“But, yes, that’s the plan for 2010.”
His time with the Rinaldi factory Yamaha outfit has run out – he had a two-year contract which was then extended for a further year, but that finishes at the end of this season and he’s not being re-signed as Yamaha looks to cut its costs.
Yamaha will retain 2008 world champion David Philippaerts to race the MX1 class and has picked up French teenager Gautier Paulin to race the MX2 category.
So where does that leave Josh?
“Maybe if the budget hadn’t been cut, it was possible for me to stay at Yamaha. But David (Philippaerts) finished fourth and I finished sixth this season, so there you have it.
“I turned down offers from Honda because the offer from Aprilia was just too good. They are hungrier and want it more too. They expect some GP wins from me and, with their bike, I think it is possible. It is a very advanced bike.
“Yamaha has released me early from my contract but I cannot ride the Aprilia until January 1. And I won’t be coming home to race in the Kiwi summer. I’ll stay in Europe and test.”
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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