Bikes: Strong qualifying for TEKA men

IN ITALY

Team Teka Suzuki WMX1 riders Steve Ramon and Ken De Dycker qualified in third and fourth position during yesterday afternoon's 30 minute timed qualification session for the final round of the FIM MX1 Motocross World Championship at Faenza in Italy.

For reigning MX1 World Champion Ramon the session resulted in third place which ensures he has a great pick at the gate for tomorrow's pair of 35-minute plus two lap points-paying motos. Riding extremely well around the Faenza circuit and looking relaxed during all of the's practice sessions Ramon is looking forward to what's bound to be a tough and action-packed day of racing.

"It's going to be a hard race because there are many riders who are fast but I'm really looking forward to it," said Ramon. "Riding was going good today, I feel good, my bike is good and the track is good too with a lot of grip. It's not actually as hardpack as I expected it to be but that might change depending on the weather conditions tomorrow.

"I finished third in qualifying and that's okay for me - the times are close. The race tomorrow is going to be tough but I want to do well and finish the season on a high note. A lot will depend on the starts because it's very fast around here and there are a lot of riders going the same speed but my plan is to win - or at least finish on the podium - and then we'll see where I end in the championship."

De Dycker finished the session with a time just 0.041 of a second slower than his Teka Suzuki WMX1 team-mate to end the qualifying period in fourth despite struggling to get on the pace early on.

"The session was okay for me in the end," said De Dycker. "My first laps just weren't fast enough but then I found some better lines and my times got quicker and quicker as the session progressed.

"They say it's going to rain tomorrow for the races but that doesn't worry me. If it does rain I think it will make the track better and more interesting as it will help more lines to develop and make for better racing for the fans."

Japanese Factory Suzuki rider Yohei Kojima is also contesting the Grand Prix of Citta di Faenza on his RM-Z450 and despite lacking experience on the high-speed European style of circuits finished a very creditable 29th position at Faenza which qualifies him for tomorrow's races. Looking to improve his race-pace ahead of the Motocross of Nations in two weeks time where he'll ride in the Open class for the Japanese team, Kojima is hoping to learn plenty from racing with the World Championship contenders and have some fun doing it.

"The track is very high speed here and very different to the tracks in Japan - I'm learning a lot," he explained. "I'm not so happy with my times at the moment but I'm confident that I can improve them over the weekend by maybe one or two seconds. I'm excited to ride in the races tomorrow and I'll try to improve my speed and to learn as much as I can from the other riders."

MX1 Timed Practice: 1 Sebastien Pourcel (Kawasaki - FRA) 1:37.918, 2 Jon Barragan (KTM - ESP) 1:38.156, 3 Steve Ramon (Suzuki - BEL) 1:38.590, 4 Ken De Dycker (Suzuki - BEL) 1:38.631, 5 Josh Coppins (Yamaha - NZL) 1:38.805, 6 Max Nagl (KTM - GER) 1:39.274, 7 Marc de Reuver (Honda - NED) 1:39.338, 8 Manuel Priem (Kawasaki - Belgium) 1:39.400, 9 Tanel Leok (Kawasaki - EST) 1:39.471, 10 Clement Desalle (Suzuki - BEL) 1:39.581. 29 Yohei Kojima (Suzuki - JPN) 1:45.141.