Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre narrowly missed a second consecutive Grand Prix victory by 1-point. After an impressive opening race win, followed by a fourth in Race 2, the ‘461’ finished second overall at the fourteenth round of the MXGP World Championship in Lommel, Belgium. Teammate Jeremy Seewer strengthened his grip on second position in the MXGP Championship Standings following two solid top-five finishes for fourth overall.
When the gates dropped for the opening MXGP race, Yamaha had strong presence at the front of the field once again. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre led the charge onboard his YZ450FM claiming an eighth holeshot for Yamaha and the YZ450F this season. Making up the top-five, the Swiss riders went bar-to-bar. Seewer attacked the track a lot quicker than his compatriot, Tonus, and took the advantage.
The racing was fierce out on the unforgiving sand of Lommel, Belgium, as the riders battled the brutal track conditions and each other. Febvre overcame a brief challenge from the championship leader, Tim Gajser, on the opening lap by setting the fastest lap of the race on Lap-2. He then went on to lead every lap for his fourth race win of the season.
Seewer and Tonus put in some solid laps to make up the top-five, while Paulin struggled with his physical condition after coming down with some sort of illness on Friday night. Nonetheless, the ’21’ of Paulin pressed home ninth position in Race 1.
With Lommel being one of the most physically and mentally demanding tracks in the world, peak physical condition is crucial, as are good starts in order to save energy. In the final race of the day, the gate took longer than usual to fall and Febvre, Seewer and Paulin all missed the jump.
Starting outside of the top-15, Febvre and Seewer wasted little time charging forward. Both YZ450FM mounted stars broke into the top-10 before the end of the opening lap and put chase to the riders that made up the top-five. Before the end of Lap-2, the ‘461’ of Febvre had forced his way into the top-five while the ’91’ stayed calm and out of trouble in seventh.
As conditions worsened, Jeremy Van Horebeek fell and Arminas Jasikonis faced a bike issue which put both Febvre and Seewer inside the top-five at the checkered flag. Febvre was fourth and Seewer was fifth.
Paulin mustered enough energy to finish tenth in the race and in the overall standings, while Tonus fell from sixth on the second lap, fought back to tenth, then fell again. He did make it back inside the top-10 before falling one last time on the final lap. He eventually came home in 14th and finished 11th overall.
Following the result of the Belgian Grand Prix, Seewer now has a 37-point advantage over Paulin who is third position in the MXGP Championship Standings. Tonus is fourth and trails his teammate by 3-points, while Febvre has lept up to eighth despite missing four rounds.
All four riders look forward to a one-weekend break before returning for the fifteenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Imola, Italy on the weekend of August 16th.
2nd MXGP Overall, 43-points
“This weekend was good. I took the holeshot in the first moto which made life easy, and I won that race, so I am happy about that. My speed was good. I didn’t get a good start in the second race and had to work hard to fight back which cost a lot of energy. I knew I was close to winning the GP, but I could not make it, so I am pleased with second overall.”
4th MXGP Overall, 34-points
“The first moto was one of the toughest races I have had all season. I slept really bad last night, and I think I was still sleeping on the starts today. I was catching up on sleep in both races on the gate. They kept the gate really long and a lot of guys kept trying to jump it. I worked hard to get into the top-five. I happy with my consistency. This is always the goal. Overall, fourth place in Lommel is really good because it is easy to crash here. Now I look forward to a few days rest before we go again.”
10th MXGP Overall, 23-points
“It has been tough for me. I didn’t feel good all weekend. My bike was working really well, both engine and suspension, but it was just myself that let it all down. Physically, it was a challenging weekend. I was feeling unwell on Friday, so the aim now will be to get healthy and come back stronger at the next GP.”
11th MXGP Overall, 23-points
“It was a pretty good weekend. The first race was really good, but in the second race I crashed. I was pretty far back, but I came back inside the top-ten, but then crashed again and got stuck under the bike, so I finished 14th.”