KOWALSKI’S COMMENTS: MXGP OF GALICIA

Lotte van Drunen extended her WMX Championship lead

The sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship at an all-new venue, the Circuito Municipal de Motocross Jorge Prado in Lugo, Spain, churned out some exciting racing. The track’s stunning layout, which featured a combination of high-speed sections, challenging jumps, and a mix of sand and hard pack soil, came as a welcomed surprise to the MXGP series. Its association with the defending World Champion further enhanced the event, attracting a massive crowd of passionate fans.

While the atmosphere in general was electric, with the fans proudly displaying their support through their use of smoke flares, air horns, and even chainless chainsaws, it was a weekend of ups and downs for the Yamaha Family. Yamaha Motor Europe’s Off-Road Racing Manager Alexandre Kowalski reflects on the weekend:

Lotte van Drunen extends WMX Championship lead

“The MXGP of Galicia was exciting in many ways; however, it was not without its challenges. But starting with the highs, our WMX star, Lotte van Drunen, celebrated her second consecutive GP win with an incredible victory in Race Two on Sunday morning. Despite being just 16 years old, Lotte displayed incredible racecraft. Her talent and ability to manage races and the championship is phenomenal. It was an impressive start to the weekend and a great result for her as she leaves Spain with a 9-point lead in the WMX World Championship.

Promising Performances in EMX125

“In EMX125, there were plenty of positives to take away. All three of the MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 youngsters fought hard. Mano Faure showed impressive speed despite making some small mistakes, proving that he is still a strong contender for the championship. Dani Heitink celebrated his first-ever EMX125 race win. Although he didn’t have an ideal start in Race One, he demonstrated his true potential with an impressive win in Race Two. While Jarne Bervoets had some crashes, he showed promise and had the pace of his teammates, indicating that he is on the right track.

Highs and lows in MX2 & MXGP

“In MX2, Thibault Benistant took his first Qualifying Race win of the season, which was an awesome start to the weekend. I would say that Race One was good, too; it looked like the ‘real’ Thibault was back. He had the fight and a fire in his belly, but unfortunately, he had a big crash at the end of the race, and this is what cost him a good result. In Race Two, Thibault missed a bit of intensity at the start. It’s quite often we see him posting his best lap times at the end of the race, which is around 35 minutes, so this shows he is physically fit. However, he needs to work on raising the intensity at the start of the race to give himself the best chance of a race win. The crash in Race One cost him a podium finish this weekend, but he is still fourth in the standings, which is good. The championship is long; there are still 42 races to go.

“Rick Elzinga faced difficulties during the weekend, as he didn’t feel comfortable with his rear suspension on the new track. This lack of confidence made it difficult for him to push his limits, resulting in a more cautious approach to ensure a safe finish. Despite not feeling his best, Rick managed to battle up front and most importantly, he took valuable championship points.

“In MXGP, the day didn’t end the way we had hoped, especially with the speed Calvin Vlaanderen had this weekend. After a strong third in Race One, he led the way in Race Two, but unfortunately, a small mistake cost him a podium finish. But it’s important to note that Calvin was very sick leading into this GP. He had a high fever and an infection, so he did not train. So, with that said, his performance was very impressive. He showed he is one of the fastest on the gate, and in the end, he came so close to being on the podium.

“Andrea Bonacorsi encountered a rear-wheel issue after landing heavy off one of the big jumps. This broke his wheel, and he could not finish Race One, but he handled it well. He rebounded in Race Two and demonstrated his ability to challenge the top-10 riders. Considering his recent transition to the MXGP class with minimal preparation, his performances are noteworthy. However, starting on the YZ450FM is different from the YZ250FM, and Andrea needs to work on his technique and power management during the start. With improvement in this area, he has the potential to run the pace of the front-runners.

Areas of Improvement

“If I must specify areas of improvement, I’d say early race intensity is a key aspect that requires attention, as the depth of talent in MX2 and MXGP demands it. It’s easier said than done, but the riders need to give their all in the opening laps before settling into the race because it seems that with the current depth of talent in all categories, this is where the races are won or lost.”

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