— FIM MX1/MX2 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 14 SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 02 BENELUX, LIEROP
— Weather: Sunny, clouds – Temperature: 21 degrees C – Attendance: 20,000
— KTM near title success after Benelux Grand Prix
After one-year absence in the FIM Motocross World Championship calendar, all the Dutch fans did not want to miss the opportunity to see Jeffrey Herlings riding for the first time in Lierop, so up to 20000 spectators gathered together during the whole weekend and they could witness the incredible show of their home rider on the sand. In the MX1 it was Antonio Cairoli who dominated both heats, while Ken De Dycker and Tanel Leok were with him on the podium.
The penultimate round of the UEM EMX250 Championship took place today in Lierop, where Mel Pocock dominated both heats. Stefan Olsen and Mike Kras finished second and third respectively.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli obtained his sixth Grand Prix win in a row this season and his fifty-second overall victory of his career this weekend in a track where he has won two world titles. Although Cairoli went 1-1 today, he admitted that he made several mistakes in the beginning of both motos; in the first race he had some arm pump during the first laps, but he then started feeling better and he managed to made his way up to the top, whereas in the second one he made a mistake in the waves section and he had a big crash. Fortunately, the bike was not damaged and he had only twisted his thumb, so he was able to recover himself quickly and won the race comfortably.
Second overall was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ken De Dycker after finishing third and second in today’s races. In the first heat the Belgian could not start at the front, but he gave it all already in the first laps and he did a superb recovery from the initial seventh position. In the second lap De Dycker was already third, a position he managed to keep until the finish line. In the second moto De Dycker rode comfortably in the second place and he was very satisfied because he managed to stay in two wheels until the end.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Tanel Leok was third overall this weekend in Lierop and he was actually very satisfied because the last time he had been on the podium was back in 2010. The Estonian did an incredible recovery in the first race going from ninth to fourth and he did exactly the same in the second heat where he finally crossed the finish line third and completed the top three of the Dutch Grand Prix. Leok had been struggling with several injuries this season, which prevented him to be riding among the top riders, but his performance this weekend clearly shows that he is almost fully fit and ready to fight again for the top five places.
Honda World Motocross’ Evgeny Bobryshev obtained his best result of the season this weekend after finishing fourth overall. The Russian had a difficult qualifying race yesterday, but they worked hard on the settings of the bike and today the Russian felt much more comfortable. In the first race he made some mistakes in the beginning of the heat, but he then managed to keep his rhythm in the eighth position and in the last lap he overtook Simpson, and Bobryshev finished seventh. In the second moto things started much better for the Honda World Motocross rider and he could rode among the top five riders, crossing the finish line fourth.
Monster Energy Yamaha’s Shaun Simpson started fifth in the first moto, but he could not keep the rhythm and finished eighth. In the second race things were better for the British rider, and after starting fifth he managed to overtake Desalle and Bobryshev and moved up to third. Unfortunately, Simpson could not keep the speed and in the last four laps Leok and Bobryshev passed him back and the British ended fifth, which gave him the overall fifth position.
Runner up in the championship Clement Desalle had a difficult Grand Prix because he is still struggling with an injury on his hand, but he did his best to finish sixth overall. In the first race, Desalle did not have a good start but he was able to move up to fourth. However, the last laps were really hard for the Belgian and dropped down to sixth. In the second race his start was much better, and after riding third in the first laps of the race, he could not keep the rhythm and crossed the finish line seventh.
Gautier Paulin admitted that his first race this weekend was one of the best ones of the season, starting at the front and keeping a good rhythm to cross the finish line fifth. However, he also mentioned that his second heat was one of the worst ones so far, as he got stuck in a rut and it was very difficult for him to get back the good rhythm and he finished ninth. In the end, Paulin was seventh overall.
Belgian Kevin Strijbos was looking forward to the Dutch Grand Prix, but he could not fight for the podium and had to settle down with the eighth overall place after finishing 9-6 in today’s races.
Max Nagl had made a fantastic first race, taking the holeshot and finishing second behind Cairoli, but in the second race he crashed in the opening lap after he had taken again the holeshot. Nagl had to enter the pitlane because the foot peg of his KTM was completely broken and he was not able to finish the race. The German finished ninth overall ahead of Rui Gonçalves.
Christophe Pourcel could not finish the first race because he could not stand the pain on his shoulder due to the small fracture they found out just before coming to Lierop. The French rider, who is now fourth in the point standings, could not take part in the second heat.
MX1 Race 1 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40:53.149; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:08.556; 3. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:34.571; 4. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), +0:44.142; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:46.058; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:47.362; 7. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:22.867; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:27.570; 9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +2:03.584; 10. Marcus Schiffer (GER, Suzuki), -1 lap(s);
MX1 Race 2 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 41:45.714; 2. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:15.837; 3. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), +0:23.817; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:33.733; 5. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:35.324; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +1:00.708; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +1:09.225; 8. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +1:11.132; 9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:34.509; 10. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Honda), +2:06.153;
MX1 Overall top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 42 p.; 3. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 38 p.; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 32 p.; 5. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), 29 p.; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 29 p.; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 28 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 27 p.; 9. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 22 p.; 10. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 20 p.;
MX1 Championship top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 592 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 516 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 468 p.; 4. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 452 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 446 p.; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 369 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 355 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 338 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 315 p.; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), 271 p.;
MX1 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 642 points; 2. Kawasaki, 571 p.; 3. Suzuki, 539 p.; 4. Honda, 413 p.; 5. Yamaha, 393 p.; 6. TM, 58 p.;
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings showed once again his outstanding talent riding on the sand and everybody in Lierop agreed that there had never been a rider like Herlings doing so well on the sand. The 17 years old rider admitted that he was really impressed when he overlapped all the MX2 riders in the first race except Van Horebeek, so in the second heat he actually set himself the goal to overtake them all. In the second race Herlings could not achieve his objective, but he won the race with two minutes and four seconds advantage over his teammate Van Horebeek.
The second overall position was for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek, who had a really difficult weekend due to a cold he got during the week. Besides, the Belgian admitted that the effort he had made yesterday in the qualifying heat made him lose a lot of energies, but in the end he was able to go 2-2 and he was next to Herlings on the podium.
Honda Gariboldi-Esta’s Max Anstie obtained his maiden podium of the season this weekend after finishing third in both races. Before the Grand Prix started, Anstie was really confident with himself because he had been grown up in the Netherlands, so he knows well how to ride on the sand and in fact, he proved it in today’s races. The British rider did not start at the front in neither of the races, but he was able to move up easily and keep the third place until the chequered flag.
Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Tommy Searle did all his best today, but he could only finish fourth overall. In the first race he started at the front, but he could not keep the second position and had to settle down with the fourth place. In the second moto he started second, but once again the British rider struggled to keep the rhythm and crossed again the finish line fourth.
In the first race Monster Energy Yamaha’s Arnaud Tonus could not avoid Coldenhoff when he crashed in the opening lap and he got stuck with the Dutch rider. However, Tonus did an incredible recovery and he finished sixth. In the second heat things started much better for the Swiss rider and he rode third during the first laps, but he could not keep such position and ended fifth, which gave him the overall fifth place.
Jake Nicholls did a consistent first moto finishing fifth, but the British had a bad start in the second one and had to fight hard to end ninth and obtain a sixth overall position in front of his teammate Glen Coldenhoff, who was ninth and sixth in today’s races. Jordi Tixier was eighth overall and Zach Osborne and Alessandro Lupino completed the top ten.
MX2 Race 1 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 40:41.884; 2. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +2:07.139; 3. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), -1 lap(s); 4. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s); 5. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), -1 lap(s); 6. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), -1 lap(s); 7. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), -1 lap(s); 8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), -1 lap(s); 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), -1 lap(s); 10. Alexander Tonkov (RUS, Honda), -1 lap(s);
MX2 Race 2 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 39:32.414; 2. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +2:04.344; 3. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), +2:07.174; 4. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +2:27.492; 5. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), -1 lap(s); 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), -1 lap(s); 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), -1 lap(s); 8. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), -1 lap(s); 9. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), -1 lap(s); 10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s);
MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 44 p.; 3. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 40 p.; 4. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 36 p.; 5. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), 31 p.; 6. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 28 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 27 p.; 8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 27 p.; 9. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), 27 p.; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 20 p.;
MX2 Championship top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 622 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 557 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 519 p.; 4. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 387 p.; 5. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 367 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 367 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 314 p.; 8. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 272 p.; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 263 p.; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 241 p.;
MX2 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 665 points; 2. Kawasaki, 627 p.; 3. Yamaha, 415 p.; 4. Honda, 338 p.; 5. Suzuki, 270 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 248 p.; 7. TM, 21 p.;
The Italian track of Faenza will host next weekend the penultimate Grand Prix of the season, where both MX1 and MX2 World Titles could be decided. Besides, it will also be the last round for both UEM EMX125 and EMX250 classes, so click here to buy your ticket for the Grand Prix of Europe or log in on MX-LIFE.TV to follow all the action LIVE from home.
— HRC Report
The uncompromising sand of Lierop was the site for the fourteenth round of sixteen in the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship and twenty thousand spectators travelled to Holland, east of Eindhoven to see Antonio Cairoli take another victory in the premier MX1 class. The Grand Prix of Benelux witnessed Evgeny Bobryshev classify fourth overall – equalling his best finish of the season – to be the highest-placed CRF450R rider across the line.
The Grand Prix was also notable for Gariboldi Esta’s Max Anstie taking his CRF250R to third position in the MX2 class. The trophy represents the Brit’s first in the category this year and Honda’s first since 2009.
Lierop is renowned for its simplistic layout in terms of trajectory, but the surface itself is a beguiling test for both man and machine. The fine sand is punishing through the sheer extent of the bumps, holes, berms and waves that shift and move as the two thirty-five minute and two lap motos drag on. Wavering lap-times and pummelled reserves of energy are not rare sights for what is one of the heaviest, tiring and most fascinating motocross grand prix events on the calendar.
Evgeny Bobryshev struggled a little with his suspension setting that saw him searching for optimum performance through the sand. The Russian suffered a small crash in the first race, but still showed resilience to maintain a position in the top ten and relegate Shaun Simpson on the last lap to score seventh. It was Simpson who was the victim again in the second race as Bobby took part in an entertaining battle with the Scot and Tanel Leok. Fourth place replicated his highest result this season (achieved two weeks ago in the
UK) and showed the Russian is reaching better form and promise as the campaign draws to a close.
Team-mate Rui Goncalves is a formidable sand rider thanks to his years spent living and training in Belgium. Indeed the Portuguese notched his second top three moto finish for the factory Honda World Motocross team last year in similar terrain at Lommel in Belgium. At Lierop number ‘999’ was unlucky. He suffered a technical problem in the qualification heat that left him low down in the gate for Sunday.
Rui started the first race brightly, but another small glitch as a consequence of using a fresh engine prevented him passing the flag in a position better than fourteenth. In the second dash later in the afternoon he crashed on the opening lap when Max Nagl fell in front of him and the former Grand Prix winner had to ride to the limit to make ground up until eighth. Rui completed the afternoon with tenth overall.
LS Honda’s Jonathan Barragan had to withdraw from the first sprint after colliding with Marc de Reuver and hurting his ankle. The Spaniard received some treatment and felt fit enough to enter the second race and came away reasonably pleased with a tenth place.
Max Anstie shone on his CRF250R. The youngster posted his second career Grand Prix podium with two confident and consistent performances and a double run to third position. Anstie’s sand prowess is well known and he proved his smooth style is a sharp advantage at one of the most difficult tracks. His second moto effort in particular was outstanding as he made his way up from outside the top ten to close to the rear wheel of Jeremy Van Horebeek for second spot by the last lap. The forty point haul helped him consolidate seventh in the MX2 standings where he has a forty-two point gap over Dylan Ferrandis.
In the MX1 championship Goncalves is safely ninth and twenty-three points from further promotion. Bobryshev remains eleventh and Barragan thirteenth. The fifteenth and penultimate round of the 2012FIM Motocross World Championship will take place next week on the Italian hard-pack of Faenza for the Grand Prix of Europe.
Max Anstie: MX2 Race Result: 3rd / 3rd MX2 Championship position: 7th “I’m really happy with how I rode today. I proved to people that I am strong and I can keep going.
In the second race I passed loads of people; I kept coming like a freight train! I grew up riding the sand like Jeffrey [Herlings] and learned how to find my rhythm on tracks like this. Lierop is very hard physically, but to keep the momentum and limit the mistakes is something not many can do; I felt like I did a good job today. Full credit to the team because they have been working really hard to make the bike the best it can be and it kept going all the way across one of the toughest tracks out there. I hope in the next two GPs we can come out with the same sort of results.”
Evgeny Bobryshev: Race Result: 7th / 4th Championship position: 11th “To be honest I didn’t get the best feeling with the bike this weekend. I felt like I was fighting it a little bit. We made some progress from Saturday, but it still didn’t ‘fit’ me. I found my own rhythm and tried to cut down the mistakes.
I finished seventh in the first, but the second moto was much better and I pushed to the end for fourth. I was really tired, but to pass Simpson I needed to find some reserves! I’m happy to come out of here in good shape and we got some testing done for the motocross of nations. It has been a tough season…trying to find a weekend where I have been fully fit.”
Rui Goncalves: Race Result: 14th / 8th Championship position: 9th “I did my best and the team worked hard, but we had more than our fair share of bad luck. In the second moto I started third and then Max crashed in front of me and I couldn’t avoid him. When I restarted I was far behind and pushed to get some positions. I knew it would be tough to get to the front, but I kept going and managed eighth, almost getting Desalle on the last lap. I was quite happy with that second moto although it would have been easier if the Grand Prix had been a bit more straightforward. Anyway thanks to the guys for giving me the best they could this weekend and to my family and supporters. Two races to go and we’ll keep trying to give the best results possible.”
Jonathan Barragan: Race Result: DNF / 10th Championship position: 13th “A tough weekend and a hard track. I touched De Reuver in the first moto and it meant that I caught my ankle and I had pain. It was too uncomfortable to continue, but after some treatment I wanted to try the second race. Overall I was quite pleased with how the GP ended.”
— Suzuki Report
Tanel Leok climbed the podium at the Grand Prix of Benelux today and captured his first trophy for the Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 team on the factory RM-Z450.
The Estonian was strong and impressive to finish third overall in front of 20,000 spectators and across the difficult sand of Lierop for round 14 of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
For the last trip into sandy terrain this season, Lierop provided its usual tough test: The terrain churned and carved into a rough, treacherous surface and the constant bumps and holes pushed the riders’ limits of concentration and stamina as well as the motorcycles themselves.
Leok set the fastest time in free practice and was a constant menace in the leading group through qualification and the two races. He was part of the front pack around both first corners but showed his bravery and emphatic sand skills by engaging in battles for fourth position and then later third place and emerging victorious from both encounters. It was the former GP winner’s best performance of the year and his first spray of champagne since the Czech Republic in 2010 and the achievement marked Suzuki’s ninth rostrum finish of 2012.
Clement Desalle negotiated both 35 minute and 2 lap motos still nursing pain in his right hand after a crash in qualification two weeks ago at the British Grand Prix. The Belgian started well and settled into a cautious rhythm that saw him claim sixth and seventh for sixth overall.
Desalle keeps second position in the MX1 standings but is 76 points adrift of Antonio Cairoli and 48 ahead of Gautier Paulin. Leok consolidates eighth in the table.
The penultimate round of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place next weekend at the hillside Faenza circuit in Italy.
Tanel Leok: “I’m very happy. I’ve been off the podium for over a year and it feels great to be back. The track was really tough and really tests your fitness. It shows who has done their homework and I train hard and have been feeling good since I have recovered from my injury. My results have been getting better and better through the last few GPs and so has my speed. I’ve hit the podium now and although Faenza is not my favourite track I’ll be trying for the same next week.”
Clement Desalle: “I still had a lot of pain after my crash in England, like I said yesterday, and with a small injection it was OK but I haven’t been able to train or prepare like I can. We all know sand is very difficult and I did the best I could. The second part of the second moto was really just about riding to make the flag; I didn’t it enjoy it much. For sure I am disappointed but I will train this week off the bike because I know I can ride with the injection at the weekend. The goal will be to do better in Italy.”
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe saw Julien Lieber recover from bad starts to finish 15th overall at a sunny Lierop for the Grand Prix of Benelux and the first of the three final rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship to be played out in the next three weeks.
Round 14 was watched by 20,000 spectators trackside as the young Belgian battled the demanding sandy conditions; the surface full of shifting bumps and holes.
The team dealt with a tough blow on Saturday as Jeremy Seewer crashed and lost consciousness for almost five minutes. The Swiss recovered well overnight in hospital but a dislocation of his left thumb meant any slim chance of competing in the European MX2 motos – the penultimate outing of seven for the best youngsters on the continent – was ruled out.
Lieber was making his second appearance for the team and several crashes on Saturday in qualification meant a lowly position on the start line for Sunday’s races, but a week of preparation in the sand of Lommel helped the young Belgian in his plight. Lieber recovered from a slot outside the top 30 in the first moto to work his way up to 16th. He then reeled off the laps to improve that standing by one slot in the second race.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe now moves to Italy and Faenza next week for the Grand Prix of Europe and then to Teutschenthal in Germany a fortnight later for its home event and the final fixture in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Julien Lieber: “This weekend was really hard. Yesterday was not good as I crashed a few times and also went down in warm-up today. We changed the suspension a little bit and it was better. I was 32nd, I think, at the start of the first moto and came back to 16th, which wasn’t so bad. In the second I was 25th and made 10 places, so overall that was an improvement. I’m really happy to work with the team and I want to thank Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe for such a good job.”
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1’s Clement Desalle has secured the number two plate for 2013 after taking third place on his factory RM-Z450 at a hot Faenza for the Grand Prix of Europe and the penultimate round of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
The Belgian rode to third and fourth positions in front of 24,000 spectators and across the twisty and rough Italian hard-pack. Finally in better physical condition after two rounds of the series dealing with a painful hand injury, he was able to attack the Faenza hillside and although overtaking places were tricky to find, the 23 year old dealt with the slippery and rutted mud to remain a protagonist. He has stretched a 52 point lead (with just a maximum of 50 points available to win at the final round of the series in Germany in two weeks time) over Gautier Paulin to confirm runner-up status.
Desalle completed a lonely first race in third spot behind Antonio Cairoli and Christophe Pourcel and then valiantly chased Paulin in the second moto but could not overhaul the Frenchman. It was still his first silverware since the Grand Prix of Czech Republic in the first week of August.
Tanel Leok was eighth overall. The Estonian was part of a riveting five-rider tussle in the first moto that provided the entertainment highpoint of the day. Leok was sixth at the finish line and sadly could not improve on that ranking in the second outing as he started badly and struggled to make up ground quickly. He pushed up to ninth in the closing moments of the 35 minute and 2-lap chase by passing Shaun Simpson.
Desalle has now finished runner-up for the second time in three years on the RM-Z450. He has notched nine podium finishes from the 15 events held so far and the team’s haul stands at 10 after Leok also gained a trophy last week in the sand of Lierop. Number ‘4’ is eighth in the MX1 standings and cannot be caught.
The hard-soil of Teutschenthal near the city of Halle will entertain the 16th Grand Prix on the calendar on September 23rd and both Desalle and Leok will represent their countries a week later at Lommel in Belgium for the 66th Motocross of Nations.
Clement Desalle: “It is good to get back on the podium because it feels like a long time that I’ve had to deal with pain in my hand. It is still not right and I need some more mobility but this is a start. The track was really good at the end of Saturday but there was so much water that I found it unbelievable in the morning. It is the kind of track that needs to stay hard-pack otherwise it gets a bit sketchy. When the mud dries the bike can react in strange ways; it was very tricky. I’m looking forward to getting back on the training bike now and ready for Germany. You always want to try and win a championship but it is good for me and the team to finish second and we will do what we can to go one better!”
Tanel Leok: “I feel good about today and I was riding well. Sixth and ninth is not too bad but in the second moto I had a bad start and it was difficult to come back from that far. I made some decent passes and got as high as I could. I was very close to fourth in the first moto and we had a nice battle there. They changed the track in the second and I don’t know why. I prefer it when there are more ruts and bumps and you have to think about your riding. It was too flat but not the worst.”
Monster Energy Yamahas Shaun Simpson rode to fifth position overall through the punishing sand of Lierop and recorded his highest classification of the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship, as round fourteen of sixteen was played out under sunshine and in front of 20,000 spectators in the Netherlands today.
Simpson was the lone representative for the team in the premier class but Yamaha were able to announce the signing of 2011 championship runner-up Steven Frossard for 2013 and beyond to the international media the same weekend. Lierops sandy terrain was as unforgiving as ever and with every lap of activity the surface became rougher, harder (physically and mentally) and a true test of attrition and stamina.
A Belgian resident for a number of years Simpson is an accomplished sand rider and showed his mettle with two decent starts and designs on a top five finish. The Scot had trouble changing gears in the second half of the first moto while tussling for fourth place and eventually crossed the line in eighth. Good work by the team and some adjustments for the second race paid off. Simpson charged to third spot and held the position until the final two laps of the 35 minute and 2 lap distance when he was bumped down to fifth after putting all his effort and heart into the sprint.
The 24 year old still placed fifth overall in Holland and filled a pre-event goal. Simpson is tenth in the championship standings and Monster Energy Yamaha will travel to Faenza in Italy for a second home event and the Grand Prix of Europe next weekend.
Shaun Simpson: Coming into the weekend I was looking for the top five and achieved that, so it hasnt been a bad Grand Prix for sure. Perhaps it could have been better. We had a small technical hitch in the second moto and the next race was more along the lines of what I was looking for. I should have really finished third but I was held up by some backmarkers; it was my own fault, I should have tried some different lines. Tanel put on a great purge and he got away so fair play to him but I should have held off Bobryshev for fourth. I wasnt too happy with that. Still, there are positives to take from this and well move on from the sand to rock-hard-pack next week!
The fourteenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship took place across the punishing sandy of Lierop in the Netherlands for the Grand Prix of Benelux and Monster Energy Yamaha were able to celebrate another victory for Mel Pocock in the European MX2 series. In front of 20,000 spectators Arnaud Tonus took his YZ250F to fifth position but Pocock shone in the penultimate outing of the Grand Prix feeder competition to stand on the threshold of the title.
The Lierop sand provided a select group of the paddock with a decent warm-up opportunity for the Motocross of Nations (in similar terrain at Lommel, Belgium on September 30th). The bumps and ruts were difficult and exhausting over the course of two 35 minute and 2 lap motos. Pocock found an effective rhythm and dealt with the dipping sunshine late Saturday afternoon to own the first moto on his YZ250F and then repeated his confident speed Sunday morning to register his fourth double victory from six (and fifth win) this season. The achievement means the twenty year old needs just eight points (a maximum of fifty can be lifted) from the last meeting of 2012 next weekend in Italy to be crowned champion of Europe.
In MX2-GP Arnaud Tonus produced one of his strongest and most consistent outings of the year. The Swiss was held up by a falling Glen Coldenhoff on the first lap of the opening race but focussed on his lines over the waves and ripples and pushed up to sixth position by the flag. In the second moto Tonus was again rapid and completed the dash in fifth spot for the same ranking overall.
In ninth for the day was Zach Osborne. The American tried to keep pace with his team-mate but still felt content with runs to seventh and eighth for one of his more positive scorecards negotiating an immensely difficult surface that normally favours specialists.
Monster Energy Yamaha are now on the home straight of the championship season. The Faenza circuit in Italy will host the Grand Prix of Benelux next week and then a hiatus of one weekend precedes the final meeting at Teutschenthal in Germany.
Mel Pocock: Sand is not really my strong point and I havent done too much riding in it this year so I was a bit nervous coming here. As soon as I saw I could set a speed to win after the qualification race then it started coming back to together and I found the rhythm I needed quickly. I was behind Olsen in the first race and knew I could be faster. When I got into the lead I never looked back. It was nice to win. Im so looking forward to next week now. My plan was to try and wrap up the title here at Lierop but one bad race in England meant well be aiming to do the job in Italy.
Arnaud Tonus: It was pretty positive today; consistent and the speed was good. I think I need to get more time on the sand to get my laptimes better. My rhythm was great at the end and not so much at the beginning. I know where I need to work and sixth and fifth is not too bad on the sand for me. I was a bit unlucky in the first race when Coldenhoff crashed in front of me because I was third at the time but ended up stuck behind him. I had to push really hard in the beginning to come back through and felt a bit tired. All OK though and Im pretty happy.
Zach Osborne: The whole weekend was quite good for me and definitely the best I have had in Holland or the sand. Yesterday I had good speed and was third in the qualification race and third in the warm-up. It is hard because I havent really had the fitness to push for 35 minutes and 2 laps on hard pack nevermind in the sand. I think my fitness continues to build and while eighth and seventh doesnt sound like much I cannot be disappointed about it. Im gonna take what I can from it and head into the Nations with good confidence.