— KTM win French GP
— FIM MX1/MX2 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 06 SUNDAY JUNE 03 – ST JEAN D’ANGELY, FRANCE
— Weather: Cloudy, sunny spells / Temperature: 24 degrees C / Attendance: 31,000
Saint Jean d’Angely woke up this morning with some intimidating clouds, but in the end just some drops came down during the first heats. The crowd present in the French track witnessed one of the best Grand Prix of the season with superb racing in both MX1 and MX2 classes, where Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings were the overall winners.
Although Antonio Cairoli was the clear dominant of the MX1 class, the crowd specially followed with enthusiasm the battle for the top five positions, where at some point it was disputed among eight riders. In the end, Christophe Pourcel and Gautier Paulin were second and third overall.
In the MX2 class Jeffrey Herlings and Tommy Searle shared the moto wins, but it was the Dutch who took the overall because the Brit was third in the first race and Herlings was second in the last moto. Jeremy Van Horebeek completed the podium having his left ankle injured.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cairoli admitted that yesterday he did not feel as comfortable as usual on his KTM, but they changed some settings of the bike, including the suspensions, and today the Italian felt much better. He had two good starts and he kept the lead until the chequered flag in both motos. At the moment, Cairoli is leading the series with 39 points advantage over Christophe Pourcel, who is now second in the championship.
CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Christophe Pourcel was very satisfied with the second overall position, having previously admitted that Saint Jean d’Angely was not one of his favorite tracks. The French rider did not have good starts in any of the heats and had to fight hard to make the moves up to the front. However, in the first heat, Pourcel succeeded in obtaining the second position already in the opening lap, but by the end of the race his compatriot Paulin overtook him. In the second race Pourcel started from an initial sixth position and he had to give his best to finish second and claim the second step of the podium.
The third place was for Kawasaki Racing Team’s Paulin, who did an incredible first race going from ninth to second. In fact, he imposed an incredible rhythm by the end moto and Cairoli had to push harder in order to keep the lead. In the second moto the Kawasaki rider did not have a good start either, but he was already second in lap ten. However, a mistake in a downhill made him lose a lot of time, as well as three positions. In the end, Gautier crossed the finish line third and completed the podium being tight in points with Pourcel.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Desalle was affected by some personal circumstances this weekend, which prevented him to be fully focus for the Grand Prix. However, once he was on the bike he gave the best of himself as he normally does. In the end, Desalle went 5-4 and he obtained a final fourth position.
Kawasaki Racing Team’s Boog completed the top five of his home Grand Prix thanks to his 4-7 result. The French rider took the holeshot of the first heat, but he could not keep the lead and he actually went down to fourth already in the first lap. Boog was able to overtake Gonçalves, but Christophe Pourcel overtook Boog by the end of the race. In the second heat, Boog did not have a good start and he was only able to finish seventh.
Philippaerts struggled with the start in the first moto and he was only able to cross the finish line tenth, but in the second race the Italian started at the front behind Cairoli and his teammate Frossard. However, Philippaerts could not keep that position and he crossed the finish line fifth, which gave him the overall sixth position.
The French crowd was able to see the comeback of Frossard, after he had struggled a lot in the previous three Grand Prix. Frossard finished eighth in the first moto and he did an incredible start in the second heat. In fact, he was even able to overtake Cairoli and led the second race during four laps. In the end, Frossard could not keep that rhythm and he finished eighth, seventh overall in the Grand Prix.
Sebastién Pourcel did a great qualifying heat yesterday, but today he could only finish eighth overall. Ninth was De Dycker, who struggled a lot with his starts today, and Gonçalves completed the top ten. The Portuguese had a really good start in the first race and he rode third during the first four laps, but he then dropped down to the ninth position, and in the second heat he was only ninth.
Bobryshev finished sixth in the first moto, but he made a mistake in the start of the second heat and had to push from the very last position. The Russian succeeded in reaching the 14th place, but he then crash again, his bike broke and he could not finish the heat. Bobryshev was fourteenth overall.
MX1 Race 1 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38:29.928; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.258; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:14.964; 4. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:17.382; 5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:21.858; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:23.566; 7. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:27.154; 8. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:30.296; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:30.832; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:41.517;
MX1 Race 2 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38:51.915; 2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:04.043; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:10.331; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:14.353; 5. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:16.055; 6. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:21.310; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:21.501; 8. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:24.767; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:29.120; 10. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:45.782;
MX1 Overall top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 34 p.; 5. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 32 p.; 6. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 27 p.; 7. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 26 p.; 8. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 25 p.; 9. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 25 p.; 10. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 24 p.;
MX1 Championship top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 253 points; 2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 214 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 213 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 212 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 179 p.; 6. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 169 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 161 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 154 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 134 p.; 10. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 121 p.;
MX1 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 264 points; 2. Kawasaki, 259 p.; 3. Suzuki, 223 p.; 4. Yamaha, 196 p.; 5. Honda, 174 p.; 6. TM, 27 p.;
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Herlings was specially satisfied with the overall victory this weekend because he had never had a podium finish in Saint Jean d’Angely. The Dutch rider led the first heat from beginning to end, but in the second one he struggled a little bit with his start. However, after nine laps, Herlings was already second, but Searle had already checked out and the Dutch had to settle down with the second place.
Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Searle admitted that he did not made the best gate pick in the first moto and he had to fight from an initial twelfth position until a well deserved third place. In the second heat he had a really good start and although he started behind Tonus, Searle made the move during the third lap and he kept the lead until the chequered flag. Searle was second overall, two points behind Herlings.
The third overall position was for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Van Horebeek thanks to his 2-3 result. The Belgian did a superb performance taking into account that he was riding with his left ankle injured due to an accident he suffered during the warm up. During the second moto, he hit his foot again against the ground, so he could not improve his third position.
Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Roelants had some problems with the start of the first heat, as well as his teammate Searle. The Belgian started from the eighth position, but he succeeded in finishing fourth, the same result he obtained in the second heat. Roelants ended fourth overall in the Grand Prix.
Home rider Tixier completed the top five thanks to his 6-5 result. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider did really good starts today; in fact, he took the holeshot of the second heat. However, the French rider was not able to keep the pressure from the rest of the riders and had to settle down with the fifth overall result.
Teillet went from sixth to fourth in the first heat, but he then made a mistake and dropped down one position. In the second heat he was only able to finish ninth, which gave him the final sixth position. His teammate Ferrandis did not take part in the races today because he injured his wrist yesterday during the qualifying heat. Tomorrow Ferrandis will have more scans done on his wrist to determine the seriousness of the injury.
Nicholls and Anstie were seventh and eighth, whereas Petrov and Febvre completed the top ten.
Swiss rider Tonus made a really good performance this weekend on his comeback to the Grand Prix, after having missed all the beginning of the season due to a shoulder and wrist injury. In the first moto he started third, but he could not keep the rhythm and ended seventh. In the second heat he led the first three laps but Searle was much faster and overtook him easily. Herlings was coming very strong from the back and while both were battling for the second place, Tonus went down the floor and Herlings took the second place. The Swiss rider had some problems to restart the bike, and by the time he entered the race again he was down to 24th. Tonus finished seventeenth, which gave him the final eleventh position. His teammate Leib did not take part in today’s races because he was sick since yesterday.
Charlier, who finished eighth in the first moto, dislocated his right shoulder and had to pull away from the second race.
MX2 Race 1 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 38:43.782; ; 2. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:08.542; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:20.337; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:30.338; 5. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:32.786; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:40.229; 7. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:41.359; 8. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:42.563; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:52.544; 10. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +1:01.570;
MX2 Race 2 top ten: 1. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 38:42.069; ; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:03.695; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:04.651; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:05.462; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:22.371; 6. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:37.195; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), +0:37.856; 8. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +0:44.540; 9. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:02.571; 10. Petar Petrov (BUL, Suzuki), +1:08.058;
MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 45 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 42 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 36 p.; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), 28 p.; 7. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 24 p.; 8. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 23 p.; 9. Petar Petrov (BUL, Suzuki), 19 p.; 10. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), 18 p.;
MX2 Championship top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 270 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 248 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 231 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 188 p.; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 160 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 159 p.; 7. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 144 p.; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 118 p.; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 110 p.; 10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 107 p.;
MX2 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 283 points; 2. Kawasaki, 271 p.; 3. Yamaha, 169 p.; 4. Honda, 164 p.; 5. Suzuki, 135 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 123 p.; 7. TM, 9 p.;
— Suzuki Report
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 came through a tricky set of race conditions at St Jean D’Angely for the Grand Prix of France and Clement Desalle was able to put aside some difficult personal circumstances to finish fourth overall on his factory RM-Z450 in front of 31,000 spectators.
Today’s sixth round of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship took place under cloudy skies and across a track that was stony and fast and grouped the riders together with extremely tight lap-times. Desalle worked on the set-up of his machine in practice and qualification and experimented with his Pirelli tyres to find the best traction. The Belgian was already facing adversity after a sudden family bereavement on Thursday naturally shadowed his approach to the meeting.
The 23 year old made two reasonable starts in the 35 minute and 2 lap motos and rode his own rhythm to be in contention for top-five finishes. Desalle steered the Suzuki to fifth during the first sprint and then took part in an entertaining battle for third position in the final race. He swapped track space with Christophe Pourcel and then overtook David Philippaerts on the final lap to secure fourth for the same ranking overall.
It was not an easy Grand Prix for Tanel Leok: The Estonian could not get out of the gate in both races and was fighting to improve his standing to reach the top 10. He was able to set an effective pace by the second half of the second moto but the former GP winner was disappointed to leave St Jean with 12th and 16th for 15th overall.
Desalle has slipped to third position in the MX1 Championship standings but is only one point behind Christophe Pourcel. Leok is 10th. The Grand Prix of Portugal at the challenging and enjoyable circuit of Agueda will host round seven of the series in Portugal next weekend and precedes a trip to Bastogne and the team’s home event on June 17th.
Clement Desalle: “It was difficult, mentally, to come here because we lost my grandfather who I was very close to so suddenly. It was very sad because he was in good health. When I was busy on the bike then I didn’t have time to think about it. My riding in general was OK and I’m not disappointed about that. The top five were really fast at this track and I will try to do better in the future.”
Tanel Leok: “I don’t know what happened today. I had bad starts but in the middle of the race I wasn’t overtaking well and just lost too much ground. I improved my speed but I couldn’t catch the other guys by that stage. I was stuck behind people for too long basically. If I can take any positives, then my pace at the end of the second moto was encouraging. Still, the overall result is not good today.”
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Petar Petrov equalled his best points tally of the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship to-date by finishing ninth overall at the hard-pack and fast track of St Jean D’Angely for the Grand Prix of France today.
The Bulgarian made two reasonable starts and battled for positions in both motos to claim his highest overall ranking of the season as 31,000 spectators (weekend figure) attended the sixth round of 16 in the series. And, after hot and humid conditions on Saturday, light winds and clouds brought a cooler climate and occasional light rain showers on Sunday. The French terrain was tight and tough and the stony surface was rough in places and flat in many others.
Petrov used the potential of the RM-Z250 to get away on the fringes of the top 10 in both motos and then steadily improved his race speed to collect well-earned 13th and 10th positions on a course that is not one of his preferred.
Team-mate Harri Kullas had less fortune: The Fin made a horrendous start in the first moto that saw the ‘151’ bike with almost the entire pack ahead around the opening turns. Kullas worked hard to overtake a substantial amount of peers and cross the line in 15th. He could not finish the second race after a collision with another rider dumped him on the ground, sustaining a concussion.
After the French affair, Kullas is 12th in the MX2 standings only 15 points in front of Petrov in 13th. Phase one of a three-week-three-race stint of the FIM Motocross World Championship is now over for Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe. The crew head south and west in the coming week to reach Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal for round seven on June 10th.
Petar Petrov: “The weekend didn’t get off to the best start because my speed wasn’t that good on Saturday. I wasn’t feeling the track. Today was much better and although this is not my favourite place I still managed 13th and 10th which means a decent meeting for me. Now I have to keep building from here and hope for more of the same and even better in Portugal next week.”
Harri Kullas: “I struggled a lot at the start. My speed was OK when I had some space in the first moto but I lost too much time behind slower riders so I wasn’t able to do much better than 15th. In the second race, the first few laps were OK but one rider cut to the middle of the track coming past the pit-lane and I caught him with my front wheel and crashed. I hit my head pretty hard and had a lot of pain. I’m sure I have a concussion and my neck feels stretched. I hope I can recover enough in the next few days to be OK for Portugal.”
— KTM Report
Red Bull KTM factory riders Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings both picked up wins in the MX1 and MX2 GPs of France at Saint Jean d’Angely on Sunday to extend their leads in their respective championships.
The two victories put the team back on top in results and spirits after failing to make any podiums in the muddy race in Brazil in the difficult last round.
Cairoli looked very comfortable on the technically challenging and often slick course on his KTM 350 SX-F factory bike but he came under heavy pressure from a slew of French riders who were determined to put on a good show for the large home crowd. In his first race he held the lead from flag to flag and also had a very strong start in race two. But after a handful of laps he made an uncharacteristic mistake and to the collective joy of the French fans he allowed Steven Frossard to slip past. What then followed was an all-out battle over the following laps where only three seconds separated the top six riders. Cairoli held on to his second place and plotted where he might retake the lead and made his move when conditions were favorable. He went on to take his second victory of the day finishing four seconds ahead of Christophe Pourcel.
“I’m very happy about my weekend. Yesterday I was not so fast and struggled a bit but today everything went well. The bike was perfect and its cool to win here in the home of my main contenders,” Cairoli said. Now we go to Portugal and Agueda is a sandy track and I have won a lot of GPs there so its one of my favorites and I am looking forward to it.”
Factory teammate Ken de Dycker of Belgium had some difficulty with his starts but still managed to move up through a good part of the field in both races to finish with a 7-10 result. De Dycker admitted it was difficult to recover from a bad start on this track but said he was able to show good speed and the riding was also improving.
KTM’s MX2 team also had a solid weekend on the French track with Jeffrey Herlings spearheading the team effort with another GP victory on his KTM 250 SX-F. The Dutch teenager had a comfortable win in the opening moto by a margin of eight seconds but had to work much harder in his second race. He didn’t get the start he would have liked and eventually had to settle for second behind his toughest rival in the championship, Britain’s Tommy Searle, who won the race by a margin of 3.7 seconds. Herlings 1-2 finish gave him a 2-point edge over Searle allowing him to pick up another red plate and he now has a 22-point lead in the championship.
“My first race was quite easy after I took the holeshot but I had a bad start in the second moto and was back at 10th and had to work my way back to second,” he said. Regarding a touch he had with Arnaud Tonus of Switzerland he commented that he saw it as just a race accident that came about when both riders were fighting hard for the best race line.
It was also a very good weekend for the team’s Jeremy van Horebeek of Belgium. He was riding in pain after having his foot crushed earlier by another bike and still had a great first race to finish second to Herlings and followed it up with a third place for overall third.
“I hurt my ankle really bad and I thought it might be the end of my season but I had some x-rays and they told me the ligaments were just a bit sprained,” van Horebeek said. “It was fine for the first moto and I felt really good but I just didn’t have that bit extra to challenge Jeffrey. I made a small mistake in the second corner of the second race and dropped back to fifth and then I twisted my ankle again and had to let Jeffrey pass me”. He underlined that there was no obligation to let his teammate past and there is no team order. He still considers the championship open. “I know I have the speed and I will do my best,” he said.
Jordi Tixier, the third member of the factory team also put in a solid two motos to finish overall fifth in front of his home French crowd. “I had two good starts and I tried to have a good feeling on the bike and I managed that so I am very happy with my results,” he said.
The French circuit also hosted the opening round of the UEM European MX 250 Championship and with three KTM riders making top ten positions – Dennis Ullrich of Germany was seventh, Tim Gajser of Slovenia was eighth and Brent van Doninck of Belgium in tenth.
— HRC Report
The 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship resumed action two weeks after the mudfest of Brazil and a warm Grand Prix of France at the hillside circuit of St Jean D’Angely hosted round six from sixteen in the current campaign. Antonio Cairoli took victory in the premier MX1 class and the factory CRF450R of Honda World Motocross’ Rui Goncalves filled tenth position in the final ranking as both 35 minute and two lap motos were played out in front of 31,000 spectators.
After hot and humid conditions on Saturday the quick and slick French dirt remained in a similar state for Sunday when the forecast showers thankfully stayed away from the venue near La Rochelle on the west coast.
Problems with his hand and a bout of Bronchitis had left Evgeny Bobryshev chasing full fitness since the start of the season, but the Russian was finally nearing a decent level of race prep and speed come the visit to St Jean; the first of three consecutive races in three weeks. In the first moto a bad start meant a long trek to reach sixth position, which would be the highest race finish for a Honda rider in a tough day of action in France. ‘Bobby’ was unable to record a similar result or better in the second sprint after a crash on the first lap placed him almost last and then a run-in later with Davide Guarneri led to a broken water pump and forced his retirement.
Evgeny classified fourteenth overall.
Like his team-mate Rui Goncalves has also been operating at less than full fitness for the previous three events, but the Portuguese’s recovery was heading in the right direction and the former Grand Prix winner was typically focussed and determined in France. Only the previous week Goncalves had joined Bobryshev in the USA to launch and test the new 2013 production CRF450R. Back in Europe Rui struggled through both motos at St Jean with arm-pump, despite two good starts and would post finishes of ninth at both times of asking.
LS Honda’s Jonathan Barragan came to France fresh from victory at round four of seven in the Spanish Championship (the multi title winner is now just three points behind the top spot in the standings). Unfortunately the racer from Madrid hit the ground in both races, and the fast pace of the top half of the pack meant he could not affect proceedings above seventeenth and fifteenth for seventeenth overall.
Goncalves still holds the best placing in the FIM MX1 World Championship standings with ninth position. Bobryshev and Barragan remain in eleventh and thirteenth respectively.
In the MX2 class Gariboldi Esta’s Max Anstie continued his steady campaign of points collection on the CRF250R although the British teenager was another of many riders who rued their performance out of the start gate. Mid-pack getaways on both occasions placed Anstie was twelfth and seventh for eighth overall.
Rui Goncalves: Race Result: 9th / 9th Championship position: 9th “Two ninths, twice in the top ten; it could have been better. The beginning of both motos was really good. I could make some passes and move forward, but after ten-fifteen minutes I felt arm-pump in both races and had to slow down. Physically I’m in good shape and didn’t feel tired at all, but my arms were so tight, so we have to sort that out. We have yet to find the holeshots we had last year and for sure it would make things easier, but today was more about getting through the motos in the best conditions. I know if I can get rid of this arm-pump then I can push the whole moto.”
Evgeny Bobryshev: Race Result: 6th / DNF Championship position: 11th “In the beginning it was pretty good but I suffered with a bad start in the first moto, but I was coming back and I was happy with the speed. The second race was forgettable. I crashed after half a lap and it was hard to pass. I had to make some crazy movements and the throttle was playing up and it took me time to pass De Dycker. I was trying to come back and I had contact with Guarneri, which led to a broken water pump and the race was over. I am feeling better physically. Now I just have to forget this GP – which is not so easy at the moment – and look towards Portugal.”
Jonathan Barragan: Race Result: 17th / 15th Championship position: 13th “The track was really fast today and I had two crashes, one in each race. In the first I went down at the start and it was really hard to come back from that. In the second I was inside the top ten and chasing Goncalves when I went down again. I had a good rhythm and the pace was high.
The bike was working well. I’m hopeful of better results in the coming races and, as we don’t have a GP in Spain this year, I hope we will see plenty of fans coming to support the Spanish riders next week in Portugal.”
Max Anstie: MX2 Race Result: 12th / 7th Championship position: 5th “It was a tough weekend and we struggled a little bit. There are a lot of hills here! We are still struggling out of the gate and I cannot understand why. We do a million starts every week and that shouldn’t be happening. We are all working hard and I just want to win. I don’t like riding around in eighth place and I don’t think I should be in those positions. I have done too much work not to be at the front. It is frustrating. We must go back to the drawing board this week and come out strong in Portugal.”
— Yamaha Report
Monster Energy Yamaha maintained their presence at the front of the field at a busy and overcast St Jean D’Angely circuit for the Grand Prix of France and the sixth round of sixteen in the FIM Motocross World Championship. Steven Frossard showed some excellent speed to lead the ultra competitive MX1-GP premier class at his home event while David Philippaerts was also vying for a moto top three finish on the works YZ450FM.
31,000 spectators came to the third visit to St Jean in three years and enjoyed hot and sticky conditions on Saturday but cooler and cloudier weather on race-day. Steven Frossard came to his local Grand Prix – and the venue where he was victorious twelve months earlier – in better shape and with increased confidence after a week of decent training and riding. The ‘183’ machine pulled strongly away from the line and allowed the Frenchman to ride to eighth position in both races. In the second outing he fronted Antonio Cairoli and the whole pack to the mass approval of the passionate crowd. A little discomfort with his right knee was the only restriction to a good pace and an impressive comeback after some difficult GPs over the previous weeks. Frossard will now have a fresh assessment of the joint on Monday.
Just in front of Frossard in the MX1 classification was David Philippaerts, taking sixth place overall. The Italian has always been fond of the stony terrain and quick layout in France but found the dry dirt didn’t carry the same technical demands as in previous years. A bad start limited the former world champion to 10th in the first moto (but he gained twelve positions in his trek from the back of the field) and he was riding with Frossard in the top three in the second outing until he started to feel less traction in the closing stages and finished 5th.
Shaun Simpson was told after a medical examination on the right shoulder he dislocated in Mexico that the joint was 95% in good shape. The Scot nevertheless was off the pace in France and 14th and 18th positions delivered 18th overall. In the world championship standings Philippaerts is sixth and Simpson is twelfth. Frossard is sixteenth after only scoring points in just four motos this season. The Grand Prix of Portugal at Agueda takes place next weekend.
David Philippaerts: “I’m half-happy. I didn’t start well in the first moto and I didn’t like the track today: no lines or bumps and all the riders going the same speed. It was not possible to pass and to make any difference. I started in 22nd and got up to 10th so I did as well as I could. In the second moto I was away better – in 3rd – but in the last part of the race I lost some feeling with the rear tyre. I’m sixth today, which is not great but I did what I could. We will see what we find in Portugal now.”
Steven Frossard: “It was cool to make two good starts and for sure the second was the best. I just focussed on my riding and the positions were not so important for me today. I was just behind Cairoli in the second moto and even led the race when he made a small mistake. It was great for me to be there but after about twenty-five minutes I was getting a bit tired and felt some pain in my knee. I preferred to finish the race and not crash so did enough to come home safe. I will see the doctor tomorrow morning now to check my knee and see what he says and then make my decision for the next race.”
Shaun Simpson: “I was a bit off the pace a bit all weekend. I was reasonably happy with the first race. Fourteenth was not a great result but I got stuck-in until the end and I wasn’t far from the guys in front of me. Starts were everything and I feel that if I had got away well then I could have snuck into a top ten position. My speed wasn’t good enough in the second race and I can’t put my finger on why. We changed tyres and I’m not sure if that was a good or bad thing. I couldn’t get comfortable enough to push harder and didn’t have the grip or the confidence. This is one to throw in the bin and look towards next week.”
The Grand Prix of France at a packed St Jean D’Angely circuit saw some bright news for Monster Energy Yamaha as Arnaud Tonus made a positive first FIM Motocross World Championship outing of the season and showed some promising speed and Mel Pocock dominated both races in the opening round of the European EMX250 series on his YZ250F.
A stuffy and humid event (round six of sixteen) on the west coast of France took place around a fast and stony track that saw close lap-times and a fierce pace being set around the St Jean hill sections. Pocock opened the weekend in fine fashion for the team in the first round of seven in the competitive feeder championship to the MX2-GP class. Effectively dealing with main threat Maxime Desprey, the nineteen year old’s confident and aggressive run to a 1-1 scorecard was a powerful signal of intent for his rivals and designs on the crown.
Arnaud Tonus was back in Grand Prix action for the first time in 2012. The Swiss made two excellent starts on the factory YZ250F and scored decent points with seventh position in the first moto. In the second he hit the front of the pack for two laps before conceding the lead to the faster figure of Tommy Searle. A battle with Jeffrey Herlings came to an abrupt halt when the Dutchman made a controversial move on the Yamaha rider, causing the British Champion to crash. Fortunately Tonus was only bruised and scraped and picked up his Yamaha to complete the race in seventeenth.
Christophe Charlier was hesitant in overtaking Jordi Tixier for sixth place in the first moto and eventually crossed the finish line in eighth. The Frenchman couldn’t reach the chequered flag in the second sprint. He hit a crumbled rut and crashed, hurting his right shoulder. Although he was able to remount the former European Champion actually dislocated the joint descending the fastest and longest downhill jump on the track. The shoulder was re-placed straightaway and a positive prognosis was given as Charlier felt little pain post-event. He will have a scan this week although his progress in Portugal next weekend remains doubtful. Michael Leib was ruled out of action after the American was barely able to make the finish of the qualification heat on Saturday through exhaustion due to a virus. The Italian GP podiumee will get more information on his status in the coming days.
The YZ250F was again the perfect foil for another racer this weekend as talented Italian Chiara Fontanesi won both motos in Croatia for the fourth round of eight in the FIM Women’s World Championship. ‘Fonta’ has won six from the eight motos run so far and the double on Sunday was her third from four events. Her dominance means a commanding championship lead of 60 points at the halfway stage and with trips to Slovenia, Slovakia, Britain and Germany left to run.
Monster Energy Yamaha will be on-track again this coming weekend at Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal and the second of three consecutive events in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Arnaud Tonus: “Overall I’m happy because only one week ago I still couldn’t really ride like I wanted. I was still sore and I made my decision to be here on Wednesday because I couldn’t wait any longer to race. My fitness is alright, maybe not 100%, but it felt better every session I was on the track. The second moto was great and I had a pretty good rhythm. I was struggling a bit the whole weekend with arm-pump and for that I missed a couple of positions in the first moto. The second race was going better until Jeffrey did that stupid thing and I crashed and lost everything. It took me almost one lap to get started again. I fell on my shoulder again so I don’t know how that will feel tomorrow. Hopefully everything will be OK.”
Christophe Charlier: “I think it was Tixier who went through the rut wall and hit the side part so it crumbled into the line. When I hit the mound with my front wheel it caused me to lose control and crash. I felt a bang to my shoulder but when I came down the big jump it popped out. We will have to see what the scans reveal but I don’t have any pain and I was told if I had sensation and good feeling in my hand then this normally means there is not much ligament damage. I hope this is true! It has been a disappointing day and an injury is the last thing that I wanted but fingers crossed we can get back from this fast.”
Michael Leib: “I need to have a few more tests because something is not right. I felt utterly exhausted on Saturday and without any energy. It is frustrating because I have the speed to get the results and I have already shown that. I hope to have some more answers in the next couple of days and we’ll find a way back to normal from here.”
Mel Pocock: “This has to be almost a career highlight so far. I’m so pumped I don’t know what to say. I was the fastest all weekend even though the other boys did give me a run for my money in the races. It was awesome to be out front and leading a race. It was a different feeling. The bike Steve has built me is amazing. It is the quickest I’ve ever ridden so a big thanks to the team and everyone who has helped me. A ten point lead in the championship after the first round…well happy!”
— Womens MX – MLADINA (Croatia)
Girls were opening the Mladina´s track on Sunday morning. There was not any problem to ride, because after yesterday´s showers and todays sun track got ideal surface for first races. It was expectable, that the fastest rider in WMX FIM World Motocross Championship will be Chiara Fontanesi. Warm Up results told us the same. Fonta MX Racing rider Chiara Fontanesi took victory in both races in Croatia with quite a big lead.
Finally in this race, Chiara Fontanesi made a good start. From the first corner bike with number eight flipped first. Chiara took nice holeshot and until the end nobody couldn´t come close to her. Fonta MX Racing Team rider Chiara Fontanesi was riding in front of whole starting pole and she was enlarging her lead in every lap. After Race one she won and twenty seconds behind her was nobody.
Chiara Fontanesi: „Yeah, finally I made a good start, then I pushed hard to get to my rhytm and I was trying to make a good gap. Everything went fine and I was first in first race. I am happy and I will try to do the same in next race.“
HM Plant UK Team rider Natalie Kane was close to top positions after start too. She was riding on third position, but only Anne Borchers stayed in her way. Full of enthusiasm Natalie Kane took Anne over and she started to catch up Chiara. Fontanesi is this season unstoppable and uncatcheable, so Natalie was only looking after her second.
In overall championship standings is Britt van der Wekken from Netherlands. Tall Dutch rider did not have enough luck, when she had to struggle from seventh position. Britt had the same rhytm during first race and conditionally well prepared Britt was jumping over her rivals. In last lap she took over third rider too and third position went to Netherlands.
In first corner were too many candidates to take a holeshot. German rider Anne Borchers was trying the same. She came out of first corner on second, but several turns after start Natalie Kane passed Anne. Anne wanted to keep her third place, but she had bad luck and Britt van der Wekken was faster too. On the other hand Anne Borchers was satisfied with fourth place in Race 1.
After very fast lap times in practices and in qualifying, also in morning´s Warm Up, Justine Charroux reminded her to everybody. In Race one she continued in great performance and she was still changing places between fastest top five. It cost her many forces and she came to finish on fifth place with 20 secs gap.
KTM rider from Italy Francesca Nocera noticed very bad start. Too many riders were fighting in front of Francesca, but despite of it she passed them one by one. Very good rider Virginie Germond was making Francesca nervous. Virginie and Francesca were riding wheel to wheel. Only one can be better and in this case it meaned sixth position for Francesca. Only a half second behind her finished Suisse rider Virginie Germond.
Last weekend on podium, many times in top five, this all makes from Joanna Miller very fast rider. This dry track is fast too, but it didn´t help to Joanna. In first laps Germond and Nocera were passed Miller and nothing changed until the end. KTM rider Joanna finished eighth. Another Dutch riders Marianne Veenstra and Nina Klink were closing first ten riders of opening race in Mladina.
Second race on Sunday in Croatian Mladina was similar to the first one. When we wanted to write about first positions. The same, best after start, and start is very important, best during the whole race. Yes, we are talking about Chiara Fontanesi. Fonta MX Racing Team rider Chiara got first and she was working only on enlarging the gap. She won both races and unsuprisely red plate still belongs in her hands.
Natalie Kane showed to all people, what she can do on a track. Even in today´s second race she repeated perfect performance and good riding style and second place was ready for her. Luckily in this season she ended weekend with podium. Only Chiara Fontanesi was faster than her and HM Plant UK Team rider Natalie Kane fighted two times second. With this result she was glad and she did not hide smile on her face.
Very well weekend in Croatia is behind French rider Justine Charroux too. Just from Saturday she perform nice ride and she is one of aspirants for podium places. In first race she closed top five, but second ride was under her control. After nice start she pushed hard and moved on third place. Gap between her and Natalie was only 12 seconds after all.
Better second ride than first was the same for Polish rider Joanna Miller. She got in Race two fast tempo and this did not leaved her until the end of race. She rode and finished on fourth place. It wasn´t such a surprise as in Arco di Trento, but she made a very good result. She was behind third only 10 seconds back.
Maybe Britt van der Wekken was imagine better weekend for her and her results. She was very close to her main aim to reach the podium, but in second Race she was slower than four riders over her. Dutch rider Britt van der Wekken was only closing first top ten. From Mladina she brings to home fourth overall.
Francy Racing Team rider Francesca Nocera did not fin in top five this weekend. She reached the same result from both of races. For a few moments she was trying to danger Britt, but Francesca wasn´t sucessful and she got two times sixth place. Nina Klink with her clear ride was pushing her to the front unobtrusively. In finish of Race two she obtained seventh.
This track fits to Anne Borchers from Germany. It seemed from her ride, jumps, her speed and also from her result in first ride. In second she spoiled start, but she picked up all forces and got eighth. Just right behind her was crossing finish line Dutch rider Marianne Veenstra on KTM. Floriana Parinni closed top ten for this time in Mladina on her Fantic moto.
WMX Race 1 results: 1. Chiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 24:36.157; 2. Natalie Kane (GBR, KTM), 24:55.089; 3. Britt van der Wekken (NED, Honda), 25:06.169; 4. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), 25:07.452; 5. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), 25:25.968; 6. Francesca Nocera (ITA, KTM), 25:38.319; 7. Virginie Germond (SUI, Suzuki), 25:38.885; 8. Joanna Miller (POL, KTM), 25:51.612; 9. Marianne Veenstra (NED, KTM), 25:59.144; 10. Nina Klink (NED, KTM), 26:26.574
WMX Race 2 results: 1. Chiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 24:46.292; 2. Natalie Kane (GBR, KTM), 25:13.032; 3. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), 25:24.456; 4. Joanna Miller (POL, KTM), 25:35.045; 5. Britt van der Wekken (NED, Honda), 25:56.306; 6. Francesca Nocera (ITA, KTM), 26:00.665; 7. Nina Klink (NED, KTM), 26:13.779; 8. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), 26:23.860; 9. Marianne Veenstra (NED, KTM), 26:26.845; 10. Floriana Parrini (ITA, Fantic), 26:30.861
WMX overal classification: 1. Chiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 50 points; 2. Natalie Kane (GBR, KTM), 44 p.; 3. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), 36 p.; 4. Britt van der Wekken (NED, Honda), 36 p.; 5. Joanna Miller (POL, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), 31 p.; 7. Francesca Nocera (ITA, KTM), 30 p.; 8. Nina Klink (NED, KTM), 25 p.; 9. Marianne Veenstra (NED, KTM), 24 p.; 10. Virginie Germond (SUI, Suzuki), 24 p.
WMX championship classification: 1. Chiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 194 points; 2. Britt van der Wekken (NED, Honda), 134 p.; 3. Natalie Kane (GBR, KTM), 131 p.; 4. Marianne Veenstra (NED, KTM), 115 p.; 5. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), 113 p.; 6. Francesca Nocera (ITA, KTM), 109 p.; 7. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), 101 p.; 8. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), 92 p.; 9. Joanna Miller (POL, KTM), 91 p. 10. Nina Klink (NED, KTM), 86 p