MXGP of Italy: Spectacular venue but room for Improvement

VRT Yamaha Official EMX250's Gavin Towers

The FIM Motocross World Championship has officially hit halfway with the 10th round of the series in Maggiora, Italy, concluding another gruelling stretch of three consecutive Grand Prix rounds.

Taking place at the iconic Maggiora MX Park, the Italian Grand Prix got off to a damp start with persistent showers battering the spectacular venue, adding an extra layer of difficulty to the steep and daunting clay track. Despite the challenge of more changeable weather, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Calvin Vlaanderen and Andrea Bonacorsi were the stand-out performers.

Reflecting on the weekend’s events, Yamaha Motor Europe’s Off-Road Racing Manager Alexandre Kowalski shared his thoughts:

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Calvin Vlaanderen
Calvin Continues to Build in Speed & Confidence as Andrea Manages Home Round Well

After a wet and muddy start to the Grand Prix on Saturday, we were happy to see the return of blue skies and sunshine on Sunday. Infront’s track crew did an incredible job cleaning up the track in preparation for the MX2 and MXGP races, so full credit to them.

Starting with Calvin Vlaanderen. Calvin did an amazing job. His first heat was decent, finishing P4 with a good pace and staying close to the leaders, showing his speed. The second race was the highlight of the weekend, and possibly the year. He fought hard, coming from the back of the pack to finish fifth, just 11 seconds off third place. This race showed the real Calvin Vlaanderen, proving he is fit, fast, and ready for a podium finish. At the halfway point of the championship, he is in the top four, and a podium finish seems closer than ever.

Andrea Bonacorsi performed well this weekend. Racing on home soil as a rookie in the MXGP class and as a factory rider brings a lot of attention and pressure, but Andrea thrived and handled it like a seasoned pro. This was especially impressive given he couldn’t finish the previous Grand Prix due to complications from a hard fall in Teutschenthal. He got the green light to race from the doctor on Thursday and performed solidly. He finished P8 in Race One, and despite getting caught in a turn-two pile-up in Race Two, he fought back to P12, securing ninth overall. He is consistently achieving his goal of finishing in the top 10 in his rookie season, which is great for him.

MJC Yamaha Official EMX125’s Jarne Bervoets
The Young Guns Fought Hard

In EMX125, the young riders faced tough conditions with deep mud and a challenging track. Jarne Bervoets got his first pole, setting the fastest lap in Group Two on Saturday. He was solid in these difficult conditions. As one of the tallest riders in the class, his height helped in the deep mud of Maggiora. His confidence and consistency are improving week by week, making great progress in his rookie season. For Mano Faure and Dani Heitink, the weekend was more difficult due to their smaller size, which was a disadvantage in the deep mud. Dani ended strong, passing Jarne in the final laps of the race to finish sixth. Mano had a few crashes and finished outside the top 10 but showed great determination and never gave up.

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Rick Elzinga
Mixed Results in MX2

The start in Maggiora was really important, especially after the weather on Saturday and the track conditions. Rick Elzinga had a good start in Race One, finishing sixth. However, his second race was complicated by a poor start and mistakes. It ended up being one of those races where things snowballed, becoming increasingly difficult. The more riders you need to pass from the back of the pack, the harder it is to achieve a good result, and Rick experienced this. Despite the challenges, he remains seventh in the championship, which is decent for him.

For the VRT Yamaha Official EMX250 team, it was a weekend of mixed results, as expected. It was the team’s first Grand Prix of the year in MX2 with their young EMX250 stars Ivano van Erp, Karlis Reisulis, and Gavin Towers, so there were no high expectations. Ivano had a tough day in the mud on Saturday but performed much better in the drier conditions on Sunday. He had good starts and decent results in both races, earning 9 championship points and finishing 14th overall in his first MX2 race. Gavin also ran a good pace and felt good but was caught in a pile-up in Race One and had to come back through the pack, which is not easy in Maggiora. He still showed good lap times and speed in both races. Karlis had similar challenges with crashes and fighting from the back. Overall, it was good to see these kids lining up hungry and determined to do well. They all fought to the flag, showing they’re mentally in the right place.

De Baets Yamaha Supported MX team’s Lotte van Drunen
Lotte Saves Championship Points

For Lotte van Drunen, there was only one heat in the end. The first race was red-flagged and then cancelled when Lotte was in P2, and the second race was also red-flagged with one lap remaining, so her sixth place result was counted. Unfortunately for the girls, they were the first class out on Sunday morning when the track was at its worst—still very wet and difficult with the big uphills and downhills in Maggiora. Lotte didn’t get the best jump off the gate but had the inside line at turn one. However, Courtney Duncan crashed in front of her, so she had to start from the back of the pack in muddy conditions. In these conditions, it’s always tricky as the bike is very heavy, and the girls are not as strong as the men in MXGP or MX2. I have much respect for the WMX riders racing in those conditions. The red flags in both races showed just how tough it was for them. Despite this, Lotte did well to salvage decent points and hold onto the championship lead.

VRT Yamaha Official EMX250’s Gavin Towers
Room for Improvement

The main areas for improvement are the starts and limiting rider errors. A good start is crucial, especially in muddy conditions, as it allows riders to choose the driest line and avoid the risks of coming from the back. Missing the start makes the race much harder, as passing requires more energy and carries more risk. Limiting errors is also key, as today’s winners were those who made the fewest mistakes.


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