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MX-GP: David Philippaerts back on track

Monster Energy Yamaha rider David Philippaerts took to the track last week for the first time in four months. The 2008 FIM MX1 World Champion completed his first training outing after suffering breaks to both wrists in an accident while practicing for the Grand Prix of Czech Republic in the first week of August. The soon-to-be 28 year old has been following a comprehensive and carefully planned rehab and recovery process and was relieved and excited to see that the first ride near his home in Borgosesia went extremely well.

“I’m really happy and feel very good,” he commented. “I was a bit scared just before going on the bike because I really didn’t want any bad effects from the injury but we went to a track that didn’t have that many jumps and I was able to hit everything straight away. Afterwards there was no pain or discomfort; it was another important step.”

“I haven’t ridden my race bike yet,” the Italian revealed. “I have been building up and have been training with the 2012 YZ250F which has been great because it feels very light and easy to ride. The team dropped the bike off a few days ago and I’ve already been out a few times and I like the way it handles and the power delivery.”

Philippaerts, who won the Grand Prix of Brazil this past season, will push full ahead with his programme that will involve a two week spell of altitude training in northern Italy and then a month’s riding and testing with the factory team on the island of Sardinia in January. “It should be like normal for me now but the work I do on the bike will be a bit slower and more steady compared to if I hadn’t had the injury,” he offered. “I’ll be riding this week and next week in Italy and then it depends a little on the weather because it is already getting quite cold here and snow could come soon. We will go to Sardinia mainly for the climate and it is something I have done for a few years now. I think a few other teams will be going as well.”

The determined racer underwent three operations and a three week stay in hospital in the immediate wake of the crash in Germany and although he now plans to complete a full and unrestricted off-season schedule he is still heeding medical advice: “I’m being smart and taking it easy. Every week I make a check-up and also go for a massage and physio on my arms. I know I cannot be 100% straight away. I have to say though that I couldn’t be happier with the people I have around me and how much they have helped. It means a lot when they say I am doing well and I am good to go.”

After the spell in Sardinia Philippaerts – with team-mate Steven Frossard and new MX2-GP recruit Christophe Charlier – will then begin the pre-season phase of warm-up race events and International appearances with the first round of the 2012 FIM World Championship slated for Easter weekend in April in Holland. “We still have to decide the races,” he says. “We will enter the Italian championship but before that we have to see whether we do the Mantova Starcross or Valence in France; one of those will be the first meeting in February. I will also be in Belgium a bit more this year for training and sand riding.”