A crisp afternoon in Shropshire, England, saw Suzuki take a double victory at the annual Hawkstone Park International; the third and final major pre-season meeting in Europe.
Rockstar Teka Suzuki World MX1’s Steve Ramon guided his works RM-Z450 to his first win of 2010 by going 3-1 in the MX1 class while Teka Suzuki Europe World MX2’s Ken Roczen (pictured above) was clearly the fastest competitor in the MX2 division on his RM-Z250 and swept the day with 1-1 scores.
The dark sand of Hawkstone Park proved once more to be a tough test for a select set of GP regulars. A surface partly frozen in places thawed to become rough, bumpy and demanding throughout the racing programme.
Ramon initially fought to cope with the grinds of the layout in the first moto and arm-pump caused him to slow his speed and take 3rd position.
The 30-year-old Belgian altered the setting of his machine in-between the races and was suitably dialled into the track to improve his pace for the next outing.
As in Valence two weeks ago, Ramon was a more reactive force, and after overtaking KTM’s Max Nagl escaped to win and clinch the overall. He was third in the Superfinal that saw the MX2 and MX1 riders mixed together, but the result did not count towards the final classification.
“It was a good day; three motos and across a rough track so it was hard work, but nice to win,” the 2007 MX1 World Champion said.
“I struggled again in the first race and had to slow down with arm-pump but we changed the set-up a little for the second moto and I could find a rhythm quite easily. I passed Nagl and rode to the win. I still need a bit of time to find some speed and also sharpen my physical condition but we have some weeks before the first GP.”
Nagl was content with his day, “I had three very good starts, including two holeshots.
“We changed the settings a little bit and this made a big difference for the starts. It was for sure a good weekend for me and this is a good track,” said Nagl.
Estonian Tanel Leok finished third ahead of Ramon’s Team-mate Clement Desalle with finishes of 5-3.
He said: “I am a bit disappointed with today but this is part of preparation for the first Grand Prix and we will keep looking to be ready for Sevlievo.”
Roczen was untouchable in the MX2 class, two weeks after his win at Valence that was followed by test-sessions in France and further mileage in the Belgian sand of Lommel.
The 15-year-old set the second fastest time in practice and then overtook Britain’s Shaun Simpson to ease to a win of over 30 seconds in Moto1.
The German took the holeshot and left the field again in his wake for Moto2, only easing his speed in the final 10 minutes in anticipation of the Superfinal in which he finished 2nd against a slew of 450s.
“I think three days of riding at Lommel this week helped towards this result. My starts were good and I felt OK on the sand,’ the 2009 German Grand Prix winner said. ‘Our goal is to be ready for Bulgaria and while results like these are enjoyable we are still working towards being in the best shape possible.”
MX 1 Results Hawkstone Park:
1. Steve Ramon, Belgium, Suzuki 15-20 – 35
2. Max Nagl, Germany, Red Bull KTM Factory 13-17—30
3. Tanel Leok, Estonia, 20-10—30
4. Clement Desaille, France, Suzuki, 11-15—25
5. Gareth Swanepoel, Honda, 10-13—23
MX2 Results Hawkstone Park:
1. Ken Roczen, Germany, Suzuki, 20-20—40
2. Dennis Verbruggen, JM Racing KTM, 15-17—32
3. Jake Nicholls, Red Bull KTM UK11-15—26
4. Ceriel Klein Kromhof, Yamaha, 10-9—19
5. Nick Triest, Honda, 7-10—17
6. Joel Roelants, JM Racing KTM
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com