So things are looking good for our two World MX2 Championship contenders as we head to the first round of the series in Argentina on the 4th of March. See the full reports below.
More Bad News for Roczen
HRC rider Ken Roczen had bad news late last week when he went to get his injured hand repaired with the doctors finding more damage than first thought so he will be out of action for a possible two months. HRC released a statement on his operation and recovery time.
“On Friday, Ken Roczen underwent successful surgery at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, CO, to repair injuries sustained during his crash in San Diego. Unfortunately, the damage was more extensive than originally diagnosed. During surgery, Dr. Viola cleaned up a chip at the base of the thumb and hook of hamate, repaired the fractured second metacarpal with a plate and screws, and also repaired torn ligaments. The initial prognosis is six to eight weeks, but Roczen will be re-evaluated throughout his recovery. He will still attend multiple races and dealer appearances throughout the remainder of the season. Everyone at Honda wishes you a speedy recovery and can’t wait to have you back out there.”
Broken Hand for Barcia
Speaking of broken hands, Justin Barcia will undergone surgery to repair damage sustained to his right hand and at the time of writing there is no timetable on a return to racing.
Barcia, who was second in 450SX points entering round seven of Monster Energy AMA Supercross last night, injured his hand in his heat race after he was unable to jump the first triple and clipped by Tyler Bowers who had committed to the triple – Neither rider crashed but Barcia immediately grabbed his throttle hand and eventually walked to the Alpinestars Mobile Medical Unit.
Broken Jaw for Gasjer
Tim Gajser has undergone surgery to repair two fractures in his jaw bone following a horrific crash during the MX1 race of the ‘Internazionali d’Italia’ final round in Mantova last weekend.
After a first assessment of his condition locally, the 21-year-old Slovenian rider was transported to the nearby Carlo Poma hospital to perform a series of evaluations and scans, which gave a clearer picture of his condition. Gajser was conscious, he interacted with the medical staff and showed full body movement; results from MRI scans to head and cervical spine were clear.
Yamaha Riders Blitz Hervey Bay
The opening round of the Sunshine State Motocross Championships was held at the iconic Dundowran Park in Hervey Bay, Queensland last weekend and it was a cracker with 400 riders turning up but on a challenging circuit it was CDR Yamaha’s Dean Ferris taking the win in the MX1 class while Yamalube Yamaha Racing’s Richie Evans took victory in the MX2 division.
YJR in Queensland
The Queensland based Yamaha Junior Racing team of Levi Rogers and Jake Cannon contested the opening round of the iconic Sunstate State Motocross series at the sandy and always challenging Hervey Bay circuit last weekend.
For Rogers, it was his first ride back after major shoulder surgery and despite only getting a clearance to ride just two weeks ago and then only squeezing in a couple of quick rides prior to Hervey Bay, Rogers made a very successful return to racing, winning the 13-14 years 250cc class as well as the 13-14 years 125cc division, taking victory in five of the six motos contested.
“It’s nice just to be back riding again as the last three months haven’t been much fun. After the junior nationals last year, I had to get my shoulder operated on and I have been off the bike since early October so today wasn’t even about winning, I just wanted to get through the day, have some skin left on my hands and get some racing under my belt. So, it was good to get some wins and now we can move onto the next round and hopefully get a little more preparation in.”
It was a day of a couple of firsts for new team member, Jake Cannon with the 10-year-old completing his first major race with the team as well as his first major race on the 85cc. For Cannon, it was a very productive day taking third in the 9-11 years 85cc class and second in the 65cc class.
“It was a pretty cool day and the track as really good. My bikes were unreal and then during the day, Dean Ferris turned up and hung out with us for a while so that was really good too. It was my first race and I was pretty nervous but it was good to get on the podium on both bike so I’m happy!”
The next race for the Queensland team takes place on March 2/3 at the Coolum circuit for round two of the series.
The Tasmanian Yamaha Junior Racing team of Angus Pearce and Lochie Smith tackled the opening round of the Coastal Championships at the Penguin circuit last weekend with both riders convincingly winning their respective classes.
Pearce took control of the 65cc and 85cc 9-11 years divisions, winning every moto on board his blue machines while 15 year old Smith matched those results, claiming all before him in the 13-15years 125 and 250cc classes.
Brody Jennings – Team Manager
“It was a great start to the year for the boys winning their classes for the day and taking all 12 moto wins. It was a great team effort and I’m really impressed with the effort the boys put in today and hopefully it is a sign of things to come this season.”
Honda Motorcycles Australia have announced an all new off-road privateer program for 2018, the RIDE RED team, presented by Honda Genuine – Honda’s in-house Genuine Parts and Accessories department.
Honda welcomed riders Ricky Latimer, Loch Latimer, Joel Green, James Alen, Izak Maule, Jai Constantinou, Tyler Darby, Caleb Goullet and Lachie Davis, as well as continuing satellite Honda rider Joel Wightman and ex-Honda junior rider Rhys Budd who, with much anticipation is stepping up to the MX/SX2.
All will compete in the newly formed Honda Genuine Ride Red team in the MX Nationals and Australian Supercross championship this season across the SX/MX2 and SX/MX1 categories.
Honda’s Brand and Motorsports Manager Glyn Griffiths is very pleased with the new program.
Glyn Griffiths – Honda Motorsports Manager
“This is a great initiative and everyone at Honda is excited. We are backing riders to compete at a local and National level and we are committed to helping this talented group of privateer riders achieve their respective goals.”
Yarrive Konsky – Factory Team Owner
“Honda’s Junior program is remarkable and their Factory and Satellite Championship winning programs have achieved a great deal of success. The only thing that has been missing is a privateer program that helped riders transition into professional racing so the new ‘Ride Red’ team compliments everything Honda has been doing.”
The all-new Honda Genuine RIDE RED team will debut at Round 1 of the MX Nationals in April.
Honda Launches Desert Racing Team
Honda Motorcycles Australia has strengthened their desert racing strategy with the formation of the Penrite Honda Racing Desert Team and they have signed Jacob Smith and Callum Norton to ride in red.
Seasoned veteran and Finke champion Michael Vroom, under the direction of Honda’s factory Motocross and Supercross owner Yarrive Konsky, will manage the team.
“We have short and long term goals and our expectations are realistic. This will be a year of development and we need to be mindful this is the first year of a two-year plan. Our development of the new CRF450R has been on point and our riders are more than capable of winning, we will work towards that goal.”
Honda have contracted experienced Finke campaigner and Condo rally winner Jacob Smith to race in the open classes in Finke and Hattah. Smith will also compete in selected rally events throughout Australia.
Smith is looking forward to focusing on just racing this year after running his own factory-backed program in previous seasons.
“It’s tough trying to race whilst organising everything with my brother so I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can really focus on racing. I also feel I can help the team and the other riders by sharing my experiences and knowledge. I am really looking forward to the season ahead.”
Talented youngster Callum Norton is seen as a star of the future and has been signed to race a 450 for the desert events while competing on the 250 in the Australian MXD championships and MX2 Supercross Championship. Norton is no stranger to desert racing, having placed 4th outright at last year’s Hattah Desert Race.
KSF ECSTAR Suzuki Announce MX1 Rider Line Up
The KSF ECSTAR Suzuki Racing Team have announced Jesse Dobson and Kieron Hall as its premier class rider line up contesting the 2018 MX Nationals and Supercross Championship series on board the all-new 2018 RM-Z450.
“I’m super excited to go racing with the KSF ECSTAR Suzuki team for 2018. I really wanted to surround myself with good people and equipment this year so I can achieve the best results possible.”
“I’ve got a great relationship with the KSF crew and I’m stoked to be back riding a Suzuki. I’ve got a few days under my belt on the new 2018 RM-Z450 and feel right at home already. 2018 is going to be a really good year, I can’t wait to get the season started”.
Kyle Fischer – Team Manager
“We’re excited to have both Dobson and Hall representing KSF ECSTAR Suzuki as our MX1 rider line up on board the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450 for the upcoming MX Nationals series. We are really looking forward to seeing what the season holds for these talented young riders”.
Jesse Dobson and Keiron Hall will join MX2 riders Jesse Madden and Isaac Ferguson to complete the KSF ECSTAR Suzuki rider line up. KSF ECSTAR Suzuki will make their official on track debut at Round 1 of the MX Nationals from Newry, Victoria 15th April
A4DE State Team Trophy Reinvigorated
Motorcycling Australia (MA) in conjunction with Cessnock Motorcycle Club are excited to bring the Australian 4-Day Enduro (A4DE) back to where it all began, Cessnock New South Wales on April 3-7. The 40th anniversary of A4DE will be a throwback to 1978, with 350 entrants signed on, ready and eager to take on the tough conditions at the birthplace of Australian Enduro.
A great aspect of the A4DE is The Challenge Trophy (State Team Title), out of the 350 riders involved; the state bodies have to select six riders to compete across three different capacities. Their times are then calculated together to determine which state takes out The Challenge Trophy.
Victoria has been the team to beat in recent history as they have taken out the last two Challenge Trophies, and setting themselves as the team to beat in the battle for state supremacy in 2018.
Cessnock Motorcycle Club’s Vice President Mal Hall, is excited for the state verse state battle at A4DE.
“It’s the primary objective of the event (the challenge trophy), state versus state gives us the best chance of picking the best team for the International Six Day Enduro (ISDE), at the end of the day this is why the event started. My dad (John Hall) started the event so riders and teams could get up to standard for the ISDE, so what that means is you have to learn to ride in a team. The world championships aren’t an individual event so in Australia the team event has more prestige.”
Cessnock have promised to bring a return to the tough conditions riders faced in 1978, which only saw 43 of the 98 riders complete the original race. The talent on display in 2018 is up there with the best seen at A4DE, New South Wales will be looking to claim back the title on their home turf whilst Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania won’t go down without a fight.
Catch Australia’s best Enduro riders at Cessnock from April 3-7, and see which state will reign supreme and take bragging rights home from A4DE. Stay tuned for upcoming team announcements on the Motorcycling Australia website.
Check out the A4DE website to get your hands on tickets, merchandise and for further information.
Toni Bou Injured in France
Toni Bou suffered a major fall on Sunday night while competing in an X-Trial event in Le Mans, France. The Repsol Honda Team rider took a heavy blow against a concrete element, which saw him forced to abandon the event before being taken away for an examination at the Le Mans hospital.
After medical tests performed by team doctor Joaquim Terricabras at the Consell Català de L’Esport and the Creu Blanca Clinic of Barcelona, it has been confirmed that Toni Bou has suffered a fracture of the right apophysis transverse of the lumbar vertebrae L2-L3-L4.
Dr. Terricabras has recommended rest from all sporting activity for the rider, stating that the evolution of the injury will dictate when Bou is able to return to action, although it is unlikely to be any time in the next three weeks.
Smarty’s Race Reports
AMA Supercross Championships – Round 7 – Arlington
In a technically challenging track, Eli Tomac and Zach Osborne has claimed victory in the 450 and 250 classes respectively at round 7 of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship that was held in Arlington last weekend.
It seems hard to work out which Eli Tomac is going to turn up each weekend but at Arlington Tomac set the tone early in the day qualifying fastest before going on to dominate his heat race, then made the most of the holeshot in the night’s main event before riding away from the field to win comfortably.
“Once we got going, it was just staying consistent and just me and the bike. It was just a good day. We’ve never had a great finish here in Dallas, so this is something I’ve always wanted to check off my box, which is a win here in Dallas so, yeah, it feels awesome.”
Behind Tomac, championship point’s leader, Jason Anderson had moved quickly into second position and it looked as though the crowed was set for another duel between himself and Tomac but a small crash left Anderson back in 7th position, allowing the KTM pairing of Marvin Musquin and Blake Baggett to move into second and third places respectively – both would hold that position all of the way to the finish.
For Chad Reed it was a record equalling night when he lined up for this 227th main event start after qualifying directly from his heat with a ninth place finish. When the gates dropped on the night’s main event, Reed officially tied Mike Larocco’s 450 SX start record but had to be satisfied with a 15th place finish.
In the season opener of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class championship, the 250 main event started in dramatic style with a huge first turn pile up that took down a number of the pre-season favourites including Martin Davalos, Austin Forkner, Jordan Smith and Dylan Ferrandis with Davalos retiring from the race after being collected by numerous bikes.
Defending champion Zach Osborne was able to avoid the first corner crash to work his way up to third before a small crash in a corner dropped him to fifth but Osborne then battled his way back to the front of the pack to lead six laps and claim a come-from-behind victory.
“It was OK, I probably was not fastest guy all day, but I just had some luck there in the main and it happened. I’m just happy to get this first one out of the way. It’s been a really long wait; the last six weeks have felt like an eternity.”
Colt Nichols was lucky to even be racing thanks to a pre-season injury but the Yamaha riders started seventh and fought to a second-place finish ahead of former Australian Supercross Champion Jimmy Decotis who rode to a career-best third-place finish after an eighth-place start.
“Yeah, very happy, I didn’t even know if I’d be here racing. So, to come in here, the goal honestly was try to get inside the top ten and salvage some points. To come out with a second, I know there was a lot of carnage out there, but I felt like I just rode my own race and had a good time doing it. Very pleased to leave with a second.”
“It feels awesome, honestly, I know a lot of the good guys crashed, but I rode my own race. I rode smart. I nailed my marks. I did everything I had to do. It just feels good to get this off my back. I feel like I can actually race main events like I want to. I’ve put so much pressure on myself after 50 starts and not having a podium and always having the speed. So, for me to get this monkey off my back, it’s such a relief more than I’m happy. I’m just relieved right now.”
RJ Hampshire grabbed the holeshot and lead 13 of the 19 laps but a mistake in the whoops dropped him to fourth while pre-race favourites Jeremy Martin, Jordan Smith and Austin Forkner came home in 5th, 6th and 7th respectively.
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna
Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha
James Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Suzuki
RJ Hampshire, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda
Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda
Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., KTM
Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki
Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., Yamaha
Sean Cantrell, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
Luke Renzland, Hewitt, N.J., Yamaha
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (26)
Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha (23)
James Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Suzuki (21)
RJ Hampshire, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (19)
Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (18)
Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., KTM (17)
Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (16)
Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., Yamaha (15)
Sean Cantrell, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (14)
Luke Renzland, Hewitt, N.J., Yamaha (13)
UK Arenacross Tour – Round 7 – Wembly
The final of 2018 Power Maxed Arenacross Tour was held at The SSE Arena, Wembley last weekend and it was Aussie champion Dan Reardon who came away with the main event win while Cedric Soubeyras won the championship by three points over fellow Frenchman Thomas Ramette.
Reardon carried his morning qualifying speed through to the Pro heats to take first pick on the start gate for a Pro Main Event which was unusually incident-free, but with so much at stake for the leading duo of Soubeyras and Ramette, it was always going to be nerve racking.
Reardon shot off the line, followed by the French freight-train of Ramette, Soubeyras and Fabien Izoird but Reardon was in a class of his own to go on and take the win unchallenged.
Back markers came into play at around two thirds race distance, and Izoird did his utmost to catch Soubeyras, but didn’t upset the order of play. The chequered flag fell on Reardon and his first AX win, with Soubeyras in third and the championship finally his.
“I’ve had an awesome time with the Tour and hope to come back and give it another shot. It’s been tougher than I imagined but, in true Aussie style, I never gave up. My I-Fly JK Yamaha team have been brilliant and we pulled it all together tonight.”
Second overall and second in the championship, the three-time AX champ Ramette, commented; “I made a mistake on the quad, but that’s racing. I’ve won it three times!”
“I’m in a dream I wanted it so badly. All day I’ve been trying to relax and not think about it, but it’s been difficult. I knew in my mind that I had to beat Thomas in the hot lap and then I knew it would be enough to finish behind him in the race. Now it’s starting to sink in, I’m really, really happy.”
Pro Main Event
Dan Reardon, 40 points
Thomas Ramette, 36
Cedric Soubeyras, 32
Fabien Izoird, 30
Adam Chatfield, Team Green Holeshot Kawasaki, 28
Charles Lefrancois, 26
Dan Reardon, 42 points
Thomas Ramette, 36
Cedric Soubeyras, 36
Charles Lefrancois, 32
Fabien Izoird, 30
Adam Chatfield, 28
Cedric Soubeyras, 142 points
Thomas Ramette, 139
Charles Lefrancois, 115
Fabien Izoird, 111
Dan Reardon, 107
Adrien Escoffier, 89
Cyrille Coulon, 77
Hugo Basaula, 73
Adam Chatefield, 66
Jack Brunell, 51
The Pro Lites second race was red flagged and declared null and void due to an accident involving Harry Kimber. Joe Clayton, Jason Meara and Chris Bayliss rounded out the first race podium, and the results of that one race went towards the overall championship. Clayton’s dominance in the series took him to a convincing championship win with 256 points over Bayliss on 225 and Meara on 207.
Pro Lites Final 1
Joe Clayton, 20 points
Jason Meara, 18
Chris Bayliss, 16
Harry Kimber, 15
Billy King, 14
George Clarke, 13
Pro Lites Championship
Joe Clayton, 256 points
Chris Bayliss, 225
Jason Meara, 207
Harry Kimber, 163
Scooter Webster, 163
Ben Clayton, 154
Billy King, 147
George Clarke, 141
Ben Burridge, 136
Josh Greedy, 128
Amsoil Arenacross Round 6 –
Florence Civic Center, Florence, South Carolina
The sixth round of the AMA Arenacross Championship was hosted at the Florence Civic Center in Florence, South Carolina last weekend and it was reigning 2017 champion Gavin Faith who scored maximum points with two main event wins on the night.
Faith would go into the 250AX Main Events with an additional point after winning the Head-2-Head Bracket Challenge and when the gate dropped on the first main, it was Faith getting off to the early lead with Hayes in sixth. Faith rode a flawless 15-lap race and went on to win 250AX Main Event 1, while Kawasaki rider Isaac Teasdale finished third and Hayes raced to fourth place.
Main Event 2 was very much the same, as Faith captured the holeshot and quickly began running away with Hayes in second place. Faith captured the win and Hayes fought hard as he bar banged his way to a second place finish. With Faith’s 1-1 finish, plus the extra point for the bracket win, Faith moves within eight points of the championship point’s leader Hayes.
“This win feels incredible, after last weekend’s unfortunate result, it feels great to bounce back with a win. From first practice to the mains, everything went perfect today. I can’t thank the team enough for everything they do and I think it’s going to be a good season for Jacob and I.”
“Overall, tonight went well, I struggled a little in the first main, but got off to a better start in the second and held on to finish on the box. I’m pumped to head into the mid-season break with the points lead.”
250AX Main Event Results
Gavin Faith, Duncombe, Iowa, Kawasaki (1-1)
Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda (2-3)
Jacob Hayes, Greensboro, N.C., Kawasaki (4-2)
Travis Sewell, Westville, Indiana, Kawasaki (8-4)
Isaac Teasdale, Robbinsville, N.C., Kawasaki (3-9)
Heath Harrison, Silverhill, Ala., Honda (9-7)
Jared Lesher, Ball Ground, Ga., Honda (7-8)
Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, S.C., Kawasaki (6-11)
Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, South Carolina, Kawasaki (115)
Shane Sewell, Westville, Indiana, Kawasaki (107)
Jacob Williamson, Swartz Creek, Michigan, Kawasaki (94)
Daniel Herrlein, Bethesda, Ohio, KTM (83)
Heath Harrison, Silverhill, Ala., Honda (83)
Travis Sewell, Westville, Indiana, Kawasaki (62)
Italian Motocross Championship – Round 3 – Mantova
Red Bull KTM rider and MXGP World Champion Tony Cairoli secured his tenth senior Italian motocross championship over the weekend at Mantova.
The last significant weekend of action, preparation and tests before the start of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship in Argentina on March 5th saw Tony Cairoli wrap his sixth MX1/Elite/Supercampione national title by taking a double victory in the sand of Mantova in Italy.
Cairoli had won motos in Sardinia, Sicily and then again at the former Grand Prix venue in central Italy to earn his first accolade of 2018 on the works KTM 450 SX-F.
“I had a great start in the first moto and a good rhythm to make a gap on Jeremey Van Horebeek and controlled that until the end on what was a difficult and sketchy track,” Cairoli said. “Another good start in the second moto but Roman Febvre was close all the time and the track was getting deep with the ruts and I didn’t want to take any risks. We tried to stay as safe as possible and made the win happen. I’m really happy for this title and now looking ahead to Argentina.”
It was the 32 year old’s tenth crown in domestic competition (without counting junior championships) and replicates the start of the 2017 campaign where #222 would go on to claim his ninth FIM world championship medal.
Tony Cairoli, Red Bull KTM
Romain Febvre, Yamaha
Jeremy Van Horebeek, Yamaha
Tanel Leok, Husqvarna
Alessando Lupino, Kawasaki
FIM SuperEnduro World Championship
Round 3 — Malaga, Spain
Over three thrilling races and in front of a packed stadium, Cody Webb put in a superb display of riding to finish as a well-deserved overall winner at the third round of the 2018 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship in Malaga, Spain.
The FIM SuperEnduro World Championship continues with round four in Bilbao, Spain on March 3rd.
Cody Webb – 46
Jonny Walker – 44
Billy Bolt – 41
Alfredo Gomez – 37
Colton Haaker – 37
Cody Webb – 154
Taddy Blazusiak – 131
Billy Bolt – 124
Colton Haaker – 114
Jonny Walker – 105
Lacapelle-Marival International Motocross – France
Red Bull KTM Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings took his speed and form from the Hawkstone Park International in the UK last week down to the south of France and to Lacapelle-Marival where he again faced a host of MXGP peers and rivals also in the final shakedown stages towards the opening Grand Prix of 2018
Herlings topped the time sheets and results all day.
“A great weekend – I felt good on the bike and on the track and there was a lot of riding today, I missed my start in the Superfinal but worked my way up from fifth place and felt really comfortable. The bike is awesome at the moment, so I have to give-it-up to Red Bull KTM. The whole team is working hard and I really appreciate that and what they have done for me. I cannot wait for the season to start.”
Anstie delivered strong moto performances in each of the three motos contested. Kicking off the day with fourth in the opening MX1 moto, the Brit improved to third in moto two. Claiming third overall in the elite MX1 category, Anstie went on to wrap up the day with a solid runner-up result in the combined MX1/MX2 Superfinal.
“We had a solid day of racing here in France. It was also good training in muddy conditions for the coming MXGP season. I had three strong motos and I’m happy with my performance overall. In the opening moto I had a bad start, but battled my way up to fourth place at the chequered flag. Then in moto two my start was not good either. I did my best again and battled my way to third. The combined MX1 and MX2 Supefinal was possibly my best moto for the day. I got the holeshot and had a great battle with the final winner Herlings to end up second. It’s been a good day and I’m looking forward to the start of the World Championship in Argentina.”
In the MX2 class Australian Hunter Lawrence took the win in the MX2 class. Fresh from victory Italy, Lawrence was second in the opening moto before taking a gate to flag win in the second. Thomas Kjer Olsen finishing second ahead of another Australian in Jed Beaton.
“It was a good last test today and I’m happy with second overall. Conditions were tricky today so it was crucial to avoid mistakes. In the opening moto I didn’t manage to get the desired feeling in the mud. My start was good but then I had two small crashes that didn’t let me battle for the top three. I had a much better start in moto two and managed to secure second. With the team we made some suspension adjustments during the break and that worked to our favour. In the Superfinal my start was not great so I did my best and ended up eighth. We’ve worked really hard during the off-season and now I feel 100% ready for the start of the World Championship in two weeks time in Argentina.”
MX2 World Champion Pauls Jonass took his KTM 250 SX-F to fourth position overall. The Latvian led the first race but a broken goggle lens forced a pit stop in the second affair and he just miss out on the overall top three.
“That’s all three pre-season races under my belt now and I’m feeling good for Argentina. I holeshot and won the first race and then had a small goggle issue in the second race and had to throw them away and pit for new ones. So it was a bit of a struggle but I bounced back for the Superfinal and finished 5th behind the 450 guys, which was pretty good. I’m happy with my riding and the bike. A couple of small things to do and we’ll be ready for the first GP.”
Glen Coldenhoff was also in good form and fresh from some impressive days riding in the region, tweaked his troublesome left hand in the first race and elected to sit out the next two starts. Despite not finishing Coldenhoff is confident of being fit for the season opener.
“I had some good days in the south of France and felt happy through Free Practice and Timed Practice this morning but managed to overstretch my finger in the first moto; it lead to some pain and I had no strength or power there for the clutch. I did not want to risk making it worse – we need to make it count in two weeks time – so decided not to start the second and third motos and work to be 100% for Argentina. Aside from today I’m feeling really good on the bike in general and physically I am strong so I have a positive outlook for the new season.”
Gautier Paulin suffered from a few small mistakes that prevented the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider from showing his full potential. Going 7-8 in the two MX1 motos, the FC 450 mounted rider ended the day with a seventh place result in the Superfinal.
“Track conditions were tricky today and this helped get some good training on the bike. So far I am really satisfied with the performance of my FC 450 machine. We’ve worked a lot during the off-season with the team and now we have a bike that I’m really enjoying racing a lot… Overall, I’m confident with the bike. I just need to work harder on avoiding mistakes so that I can have a good start to the 2018 MXGP series.”
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