Romain Febvre and Thomas Covington MXGP victors in Mexico
Overnight storms made the conditions extremely tough and technical here at the circuit of Leon for the penultimate round of the FIM Motocross World Championship. The saturated dirt, which is a mix of clay and soil, became very thick and sticky, which kept the riders on their toes as they were faced with the challenge of riding fast but smart.
It was business as usual for Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre who upped his stats to fourteen race wins, twelve consecutive podiums, of which seven have been grand prix overalls.
The 2015 FIM Motocross World Champion made it look far too easy today when he won the first race with an even bigger gap than the one Ryan Villopoto pulled in the Qualifying Race in Thailand, 45 seconds to RV’s 33.
Romain Febvre – 1st and 1st for 1st overall. Championship position: 1st – “I am so happy to win both motos here. I felt good all weekend on this track even if this morning it was really muddy. I enjoyed it. We had some time off after Assen and we did some tests and made some improvements on our starts so that’s a really good point [from today]. We are already working for next year because the championship is already won. We can try different things and even if they are not working then it is not so bad; for sure this weekend it worked very well. The first race was muddy and it stuck to the bike a lot. The second moto was like how a track should be – many lines – and I enjoyed it.”
For Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM’s Shaun Simpson it’s simple. The gnarlier, the better. The overnight rain fell completely in favor of Simpson who is having his best ever season in the premier class. SS24 reveled in the rutted up circuit in race 1 for a convincing second place finish but what was really impressive was they way he diced his way through the pack in race two and passed factory rider after factory rider to take another second for second overall. “The track in the second race was how every grand prix should be. There were a lot of lines to pass and I didn’t feel stressed, I felt smooth and confortable. Overall it’s just nice to show I can run up front and I can be on the podium and show good speed, not only in the sand.”
There are only fifty points left to race for this season which means that Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev has already concreted a top three result as he is 58 points clear of Simpson in fourth. This weekend the Russian made ten points on his Team HRC teammate Gautier Paulin and now trails by 27 points which means he is still in the running for second place in the championship.
When Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Jeremy Van Horebeek gets the start he can run the pace which was evident in race two as he went bar-to-bar with Paulin, Simpson, Bobryshev and Coldenhoff in a massive battle for second. Simpson and Bobryshev both ended up nudging him back fourth which is the result he took away this weekend.Meanwhile Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff rounded out the top five after a mistake-riddled. Nevertheless the Dutch rookie recovered well in both races for two top five finishes.
Dean Ferris took sixth in the first moto and followed up with a tenth place finish in the second moto to earn eighth overall for the round. Ferris is currently 12th in the championship but a good result at the final round could see him move into 11th place.
Countryman Todd Waters took a pair of 11th place finishes for 11th overall for the round and currently sits ninth in the championship standings. With only a single round remaining Waters is assured of a top ten outright for the season.
Todd Waters – “I feel like I was able to do a lot more than I did this weekend. I love racing in muddy conditions and the first moto was going great for me. The track was a battleground – it was all about staying on the right lines, and trying not to get too roosted. I was moving forward when my bike stopped. I guess the mud and water caused the spark plug to come off. It took a while to fix it but the bike was fine afterwards. Finishing 11th was disappointing having been fifth. The second moto I felt like I rode well, but I dropped it when I was eighth so again I feel my result doesn’t reflect how well I was riding.”
What better way to head into your home grand prix than as the most recent round winner? Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Thomas Covington hit a couple of milestones in Mexico and proved just how versatile he is with a solid ride in race one for fourth, which he followed up with his first ever race win in race two and overall victory.
Thomas Covington: “It’s so good to finally get a win. I’ve been pushing hard always and it’s been a tough two years with a lot of bad races, a few good ones and coming here to get this win is unbelievable. I hope to keep this going. The first race the track was really muddy and I just tried to survive and not to crash; I had the holeshot but went too much to the outside and a few guys passed me. I tried to keep on two wheels and it was pretty tough. The track was completely different for the second moto; it was pretty dry in some places. I was second at the first corner and finally made the move to first place. I tried to put down some fast lap to make a gap; I knew that Gajser was coming back at the end of the race but I held on to win this moto. I had no idea that I had won the GP until I arrived at the podium! Next weekend it will be good to race at Glen Helen; I will go to my home race full of confidence.”
Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser didn’t have the best start to the day. The red plate holder binned it big time in race one but only lost one position. A couple of laps later a message was put out on his pit-board “save bike!” which for Gajser, a rider who is a complete animal and uses every ounce of power, made it a nail biting end to the race. Nevertheless he nursed it home for fifth and then rode smart in race two for second place and second overall. He now leads the championship by 18 points over Pauls Jonass.
Kemea Yamaha Yamalube’s Benoit Paturel was visibly pumped to uncork his first ever bottle of bubbles. “It is incredible for me. This year I have progressed step by step and to take my first podium, the sensation is incredible, I think for every rider it’s the same.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass, mentored by the greatest of all time Stefan Everts, had the craziest weekend. Just when it looked as though the title challenger had hooked a gear, with his race 1 win and 9 point gain on the red plate holder Gajser, it all turned sour when he crashed crossing the Fox Holeshot line (but still took it) and then again a lap later in spectacular style when he was catapulted off his bike. Even though the Latvian lessened his chances of claiming the 2015 FIM Motocross MX2 World Championship title, he can count himself lucky that he walked away from such an enormous crash unscathed.
The biggest key to muddy conditions is to keep the momentum up, which coincidently is the same tact necessary to ride sand. Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie was fast in race one where he was second behind Jonass. In race two he crashed out of fourth and only managed to salvage tenth but still rounded out the top five.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 35:48.318; 2. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:04.477; 3. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:26.170; 4. Thomas Covington (USA, Kawasaki), +0:32.672; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:34.821; 6. Harri Kullas (FIN, Husqvarna), -1 lap(s); 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), -1 lap(s); 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), -1 lap(s); 9. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), -2 lap(s); 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), -2 lap(s).
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.