Team Suzuki’s Kevin Strijbos sealed third position with the works RM-Z450 under blue skies and warm Portuguese sun on the first day of action at Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal and the third round of the 2007 FIM MX1 World Championship.

The balmy conditions lit a well-prepped and grippy course, located in the town east of Aviero, and a spectacular thunderstorm Friday evening gave the terrain an extra softening before the arrival of spring sunshine. It was fair compensation to the MX1 class riders who had seen practice and qualification cancelled last week at a rain-hit Spanish GP.

Strijbos altered some gearing settings through the day and Ramon needed to switch engines after the first session. Both riders entered the 30 minute Timed Practice fairly confident after enjoying what was a tiring but enjoyable layout.

Strijbos, who had suffered a small crash earlier in the day, posted a lap-time to lie second for most of the period but was eventually bumped down to third when Tanel Leok secured his second successive pole position in the last minute. Ramon had a tougher time. The Belgian was frustrated in his attempts to forge a clean flying lap; either through making small mistakes or finding slower riders in his path. The former World Champion rested tenth but only 1.2 seconds from Leok in a very tight classification.

Kevin Strijbos:

“Third is ok. I had a good feeling in the first practice but had a small crash in the second and I lost my rhythm for a little while. In the Timed Practice things went well and my lap-times were consistent. I am just looking forward to making a good start and going for it tomorrow. The track is good; it is not too hard so you can switch some lines and try some ideas.”

Steve Ramon:

“After the first practice we had to change the engine but things were fine in the second. My riding was good but in qualification I could not get that one lap without any mistakes or finding someone who had fallen in front of me. I am not so happy with 10th but I know I can go quickly; it was just a matter of missing out on that important lap because of traffic.”

MX1 Timed Practice: 1 Tanel LEOK (EST) KAWASAKI 1:46.867, 2 Sebastien POURCEL (FRA) KAWASAKI 1:47.044, 3 Kevin STRIJBOS (BEL) SUZUKI 1:47.131, 4 Joshua COPPINS (NZL) YAMAHA 1:47.386, 5 James NOBLE (GBR) HONDA 1:47.413, 6 Billy MACKENZIE (GBR) KAWASAKI 1:47.591, 7 Ken DE DYCKER (BEL) HONDA 1:47.728, 8 Marc DE REUVER (NED) YAMAHA 1:47.839, 9 Jonathan BARRAGAN (ESP) KTM 1:48.008, 10 Steve RAMON (BEL) SUZUKI 1:48.086.


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