A challenging 16th round of the MXGP World Championship in Uddevalla, Sweden, saw Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer make the most of a ‘tough day’ to finish fourth in the Grand Prix classification, while Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s duo of Gautier Paulin and Arnaud Tonus made up the top-seven. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre fell while chasing the Grand Prix win and has been taken to hospital for further examination. Nevertheless, his silver medal performance in Race 1 was enough to make up the top-ten.
In the opening race of the weekend, Febvre made up the top-four on the exit of turn-one as his teammate, Seewer, fell from fifth at turn-two. Capitalizing on Seewer’s misfortune, Paulin and Tonus were able to move up into sixth and seventh respectively, as Febvre took advantage of an error by the new World Champion, Gajser, to move into third.
Built in a rock quarry, the circuit of Uddevalla presented a different challenge for the best in the world with the terrain being incredibly hard to read. The dirt was loose and stoney on the surface with a hard packed, rough and edgy clay base. Pushing the limit often ended in error, which made passing risky and hard. Tonus sat behind his teammate for 13-laps, while Febvre forced a pass on last years’ champion Jeffrey Herlings for second position by powering his YZ450FM around the outside of the Dutchman on lap-12.
On lap-14, Paulin made a mistake and stalled his engine at the end of pit-lane which allowed Tonus and Jeremy Van Horebeek to pass before Herlings made a mistake and took an unfortunate Tonus down too.
As a rider that is known to excel on super slick and rocky circuits, Febvre upped the ante on the final lap of the race and put the challenge to the race leader Glenn Coldenhoff but came up short by a fraction of a second. Seewer put in a thrilling charge through the field to finish seventh behind Paulin in sixth as Tonus untangled his damaged bike from Herlings’ and nursed it home for 12th.
With the track being tricky and hard to pass on, a holeshot in Race 2 could not have come at a better time. Febvre got off to a flying start onboard his YZ450FM and managed to lead the charge right from the first turn. As a rider that is not afraid to lay the power down and let the rear wheel slide, the French ace looked comfortable up front as he led the first 13-laps.
Like Febvre, Tonus relishes hard and slick surfaces. A top-three start in the final race of the weekend allowed the ‘4’ to prove his speed, at least until he lost traction on a sweeping turn with 2-minutes left on the clock.
Following a decent start, Seewer did his best to keep the Race 1 winner at bay in a battle for fifth but opted to play it safe on the track that caught many good riders out including his teammate, Febvre, who fell heavily with 3-laps to go.
After a dramatic 30 minute plus 2-lap race duration, Seewer crossed the line fifth ahead of Tonus in sixth and Paulin in eighth. Febvre was taken to the hospital with a suspected broken left femur. An update on his condition will be shared when available.
The next round will be the 17th and penultimate round of the series. It will take place in Afyon, Turkey on the weekend of September 8th.
4th MXGP Overall, 2nd MXGP Championship Standings
“This weekend I am taking away a lot of positives, but also a lot of negatives. I am extremely happy to come out of this weekend alive because I felt like the track was really sketchy. I didn’t feel good on the track, I felt quite far off from my level, although I did feel better in the races today even though I crashed twice in the warm-up trying to find the limit. I got two good starts, I crashed in the middle of a Yamaha sandwich in the first race and came back to seventh, which for me was a good finish, especially on this kind of track. In the second race, I got another good start but I immediately felt uncomfortable on the sketchy track, so I just rode smart with no mistakes, playing with the bumps and took absolutely no risk. I did not even know where I finished because so many guys crashed. So, I am just happy to finish safely.”
6th MXGP Overall, 3rd MXGP Championship Standings
“The rain coming into this weekend was good for the track. The track was nice and my bike was working good. I had a really good start in the first race, but then I stalled the bike in front of the pit lane and that cost me a few places. The second moto was a bit harder. My start was not as good and I struggled to make some passes and move forward, so I finished around eighth, I think. Anyway, we keep moving forward.”
7th MXGP Overall, 5th MXGP Championship Standings
“It was a tough day. First race was going alright but I had bad luck with Jeffrey (Herlings) crashing in front of me, and my bike got stuck there. That was a shame. I only finished 12th. In the second race I rode really good the whole moto and crashed at the end and that was also a shame. Another tough weekend. There has been a few in a row now but all I can do is learn from it and come back next weekend.”