Still nursing a ligament injury in his left ankle, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre managed to finish his home Grand Prix, round ten of the FIM MXGP World Championship at Saint Jean d’Angely in France, inside the top five, while Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer and Shaun Simpson made up the top-ten.
Overnight rain and thunderstorms battered the clay-based, hilly French circuit, which made the track rougher, and the ruts longer and deeper than usual. The Saint Jean d’Angely circuit has many tricky and tight left-hand turns and this didn’t work in favor of Romain Febvre who was careful not to dab his left foot.
With a slightly more cautious approach to race due to the depth of the ruts, Febvre couldn’t quite run his usual pace. After having another rider lean on him down the start straight in Race 1, which cost him a couple of positions, he managed pull through the pain and stiffness of his ankle injury for an admirable seventh place finish.
Like his teammate, Jeremy Van Horebeek was also sandwiched on the start-straight and squeezed back to fifteenth place. From there, he was a man on a mission as he blitzed past a series of riders to complete the opening lap inside the top-ten before a few small errors and a massive high-side crash in front of pit-lane stopped him in his tracks. The Belgian ace managed to recover from the heavy impact to claim 5-points for sixteenth place.
Jeremy Seewer got off to an incredible start onboard his Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP YZ450F and rode a valiant race, holding off the former World Champion, Romain Febvre, for the entire 17-laps to match his best race finish of the season, sixth place. Meanwhile fellow Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP rider, Shaun Simpson got off to mediocre start, but managed to fight forward and pick off the likes of Van Horebeek – who is one of only four Qualifying Race winners this season – to finish on the fringes of the top-ten, in eleventh place.
In the final race of the weekend, Jeremy Seewer paired his cat-like reactions with the torque and power of his YZ450F for yet another impressive start. The Swiss sensation chased the nine-time World Champion Antonio Cairoli around turn-one before being knocked back to third by the 2016 MXGP World Champion Tim Gajser.
Encouraged by the highly passionate French fans, Febvre took no prisoners on his way from eighth up into fourth place after he won a gripping battle with French compatriot Gautier Paulin.
Seewer put on quite a show for thousands of fans that crowded the hills of Saint Jean d’Angely, as he held off some of the biggest names in the class. Admittedly, it was the first time this season that the rookie had been so well placed off the start, and he tried to learn as much as he could about maintaining the high speed and intensity of the MXGP class for the entire race duration. He eventually came home in eighth place, which is where he finished in the overall Grand Prix Classification as well.
Simpson had a positive weekend and rattled off a top-ten finish after an epic battle with Tommy Searle and Max Nagl for thirteenth place in Race 2, while Jeremy Van Horebeek was disappointed with his fourteenth place finish, and even more so with the overall result, sixteenth place
The MXGP series has officially reached the halfway mark, and the French Grand Prix was in the middle of three back-to-back rounds. Next weekend, June 16th and 17th, the eleventh round of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place in Ottobiano, Italy.
5th MXGP Overall, 4th MXGP Classification
“I am not really happy with this weekend if I am honest. The first race I didn’t feel like I rode well. Yes I am injured, but in my mind, that is no excuse. In the second race, I feel like I could finish third, but I didn’t, so I am not too happy about it. On to the next one.”
8th MXGP Overall, 8th MXGP Championship Standings
“I had a lot of things to change yesterday in the practice sessions just because it is a new track once again for me, and it required a new set-up. We had it sorted before the Qualifying Race, so that was good. Today, I had two really good starts and I managed to ride solid and stay close to the top guys. I would say it was the first day for me, this year, riding so far up front and I found that really intense and something I have to get used to. I lost a couple of spots, but at the moment I prefer to stay on the bike than to risk too much and crash. I am happy with my speed and the riding.”
10th MXGP Overall, 17th MXGP Championship Standings
“It has been a positive weekend. I can tell you my raw speed is not there yet, but I’m in and around the top-ten and I just seem to get a bit tired in and around the final 10 minutes of the race, but to be honest I am pretty happy with the way I am riding, the people I am battling with are no slouches. I can’t complain, two solid rides and some solid points, I am happy.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek
16th MXGP Overall, 9th MXGP Championship Standings
“What is there to say about this weekend? I was not myself and did not ride anywhere near the way I should be riding, and the way I know I can. It was an ‘off’ day, and it’s impossible to feel good about anything in the races this weekend. It’s a day to forget, so we will just move forward to the next round in Ottobiano.”