RUSSIA. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre maintains his top-five streak at the sixth round of the FIM MXGP World Championship in Orlyonok, Russia, with another fourth overall. Teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek was the runner-up in the Qualifying Race and did his best to ignore the pain and discomfort of a slight Scaphoid injury to finish sixth in opening race, but with two crashes in the second race he dropped to twelfth in the Grand Prix Classification.
The track that hosted the sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship had a traditional feel to it. It sprawled out over the steep hills that overlook the Eastern shore of the black sea, and was made out of untouched white clay. The term untouched is in reference to the preparation of the track. Modern-day tracks are often strewn with ruts as they tend to be ripped deep and heavily watered over the days leading into a Grand Prix.
Without a ripped surface, the track in Orlyonok forced the riders to open their eyes and get creative with their lines. They had to search for traction and be gentle on the throttle while remaining aggressive and committed to the race. With less ruts, bright blue skies and high temperatures that hovered around 30 degrees Celsius, the water that was put on the sun-baked track to keep the dust down made the circuit slippery.
A good start at this venue was essential and Romain Febvre’s seventh place finish in the opening race of the day was a solid reflection of just how important the start was. Febvre was the fastest rider on track yesterday. He pulled a holeshot and gapped the field with a string of fast laps that were only getting faster. He was in his element and feeling fabulous onboard his YZ450FM before he lost traction and fell from the lead.
As Febvre recovered for eleventh place, his teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek took full advantage of the error and went on to lead for a handful of laps, but had to be content with a second-place finish after the championship leader Jeffrey Herlings passed him.
Febvre’s mediocre gate-pick made for a difficult race. The Frenchman was all heart as he ducked and dived the sharp stones coming off the 450cc motorcycles in front of him as he stormed forward from outside of the top-fifteen to finish seventh-place in the opening race, right on the heels of his teammate Van Horebeek who’s sixth place position remained unchanged from start to finish.
In the second race of the day, a better start allowed Febvre to take control of fifth place and apply pressure to the nine-time world champion Antonio Cairoli, who eventually made a small error and fell. Febvre inherited fourth and went after the former World Champion Tim Gajser, while his teammate Van Horebeek dropped outside of the points after connecting with another rider.
With the top riders in MXGP being relative in speed, Febvre had to work hard to pass Gajser. He managed to get the job done with two-laps to go and finished third in the final race of the day, which was enough for fourth overall. Van Horebeek managed to score some points with an eighteenth place finish for twelfth overall.
Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer was smiling under his Shoei helmet as he wowed the enthusiastic crowd with some insane whips over the big jumps. As the best placed rookie in the premier class, his flamboyance onboard his YZ450F is a good sign he is feeling comfortable and confident on the bigger bike. If the twenty-three-year-old Swiss rider pulled the same start as he did in the Qualifying Race yesterday, where he dropped back to sixth after a fourth place start, the results of todays’ main events could have been different. Nevertheless, the youngster was satisfied with his 9-8 scorecard for eighth overall.
Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Shaun Simpson was not able to race after his spectacular fall in the Qualifying Race yesterday. The thirty-year-old Scot was cleared of all injuries, but the impact and bruising on his hip made it difficult to race on the high-paced Orlyonok circuit. Hoping to line up in 4-days time at the Dutch Championship, Simpson decided to withdraw from the Grand Prix but is expected to be back on the gate at the next round of the MXGP World Championship in Latvia on the weekend of May 13th.