Romain Febvre wins Glen Helen and underlines his talent by staving off the American challenge at their home round
The signature hills of Glen Helen made for an exciting and successful end to the most epic season of motocross ever, the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship. Stifling hot temperatures saw Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre rise to yet another challenge for his eighth MXGP round overall while California’s own Jessy Nelson took his Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Red Bull KTM to a double race victory for the MX2 Grand Prix win on his debut appearance.
It was also a memorable weekend for Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser here at the eighteenth and final round of the FIM Motocross World Championship with the Slovenian winning the season long battle in MX2 to be crowned world champion.
Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre proved why he is the 2015 FIM Motocross World Champion once again this weekend when he won on a completely unfamiliar track in the fierce heat of California. Febvre rebounded from mediocre starts in both races and charged to the front for a hard fought victory in race one and second place in race two after a small crash spoiled his shot at another perfect weekend. With those scores Febvre, who was already crowned world champion at round 16 in Assen, The Netherlands, added another Grand Prix victory to his statistics and extended his points margin to 143 over fellow Frenchman Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin, who is officially the 2015 vice FIM Motocross World Champion. Paulin’s Team HRC teammate Evgeny Bobryshev is the 2015 MXGP bronze medalist.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant has cut so many laps around here he could almost ride with his eyes closed. Even though the track was prepared differently to what it usually is and it chopped up slightly different due to the European style of riding, the Californian native had his lines down and rode crazy fast this weekend to lock up second overall with a race win in the final moto. The legend Ryan Villopoto said during the commentary, “Josh is riding great at the moment, he’s on rails”.
Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb put in a very impressive performance this weekend. The young American, fresh off of the 250cc, wasn’t afraid to mix it with the big boys as he went bar-to-bar with both Febvre and Grant on his way to third overall on his MXGP debut, “overall I’m really happy, for me it was an awesome experience and I am looking forward to race MXoN next week.”
Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev finished the 2015 MXGP season in the USA today placed second and third respectively in the World Championship but their results at Glen Helen were a little disappointing. At the finale,a pair of 8th place finishes for Paulin put him 7th overall in the MXGP of the USA, just behind Bobby who was sixth overall with a ninth and a fifth, having been running as high as second in race two. Here Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev are pictured alongside MX2 World Champion Tim Gajser, who brought home the World Championship bacon for Honda in the 250cc category.
Roger Harvey – HRC General Manager – MXGP – “We certainly can’t complain with second and third in the world, and with Tim winning the MX2 World Championship, it’s been a great year for Team HRC and for Honda. I’d like to congratulate Tim and the Honda Gariboldi team for a fantastic season on the works 250, flying the HRC flag in MX2. This weekend was reasonable, but the important thing was second and third in the championship and I’m very pleased with that. Now we have a clear goal for next year – to improve by one place!”
Gautier Paulin – 8th, 8th. 7th overall 2nd in World Championship – “It’s great to end the season with second overall, and top Honda. It’s been a hard season with many up and downs, with winning in Valkenswaard and then also having some really bad moments like with my knee. Towards the end of the season I was pushing but trying to control the knee, and in motocross it’s difficult to do that. Now we concentrate on the Motocross of Nations, and then I have a full check on my condition to come back 100 per cent next season. I want to thank Honda and HRC, and all my partners, for this season and for all the hard work.”
Evgeny Bobryshev – 9th, 5th. 6th overall 3rd in World Championship – “I feel great after this season. I put my goal in front of me before this season and I followed this goal and now we have achieved it. It was really important for me to stay healthy; this was the main goal. Now we have third place so it’s really great. If you take Russian legends like Kavinov, 36 years ago he was in third place, so now after such a long time I have ended this gap and done the same. There are many people in Russia who know the history and really follow this sport, and they’re really happy that a Russian has done this again. It’s a strange feeling to be third to be honest. Until I get my medal, for me it’s difficult to believe it as it’s been such a long time to do this in the championship. I knew always that I could do this and my speed was top three. In Mexico when I secured the place it was a strange feeling, and I was thinking ‘why don’t I feel it yet?’, but since then I start thinking more ‘wow, I’m third!’. I feel just a great satisfaction inside.”
It was awesome to have Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli back on the gate, although he didn’t finish the second race after his hand came off the bars when he over cooked a jump, which may have flared up his recent injury. So, it was up to fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Dean Wilson to fly the flag for the orange army, which he did with a fourth overall finish despite coming from miles back in both races.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff rounded out his season with his eighth top five overall finish.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson was running a sweet pace all weekend but found himself in trouble a couple of times which left him finishing in tenth overall.
Dean Ferris and Todd Waters finished 18th and 19th respectively on the opening moto but improved to much more respectable 13th and 14th place finished in the final moto.
In the championship wash-up Todd Waters finished the MXGP season placed ninth while Dean Ferris claimed 12th overall for the 2015 MXGP season.
Todd Waters – “Like everyone I was looking for a positive end to the 2015 MXGP series. The second half of the championship hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped, so I really wanted a strong finish. Unfortunately, I had an issue in the first race, which meant that I wasn’t able to charge like I wanted to. I stalled the bike in one corner and things just didn’t come together. In the second moto I just didn’t have what I needed for a better result. Like I said, it’s a frustrating end of the championship for me. This year I achieved pretty much all of the goals I set myself – top five results, a podium, ending the year healthily – and I owe the team so much for that.”
Countryman Kirk Gibbs withdrew from the first race after a fall aggravated a recent shoulder injury, while he was running outside the top ten. Gibbs then steeled himself and returned to action in the second and despite the injury and the stifling heat, salvaged 16th place while many GP regulars were wilting and pulling out from heat.
In doing so he made an entirely respectable fist of a less than ideal preparation for his first Grand Prix race, having taken a heavy fall on the Wednesday before the event, and not just beating himself up physically but also copping a solid blow to the head.
After a couple of days recovery with the help of renowned American motocross physician ‘Dr G’, Gibbs rode to 18th in Saturday’s qualifying race despite a poor start and some initial setup problems.
With KTM Motocross Racing Team Manager Rob Twyerould, Crew Chief Danny Apro and Technician Kyle Blunden having optimised both gearing and mapping for the particular challenges of the circuit, Gibbs was able to race with a number of GP top-10 riders, including Australian Dean Ferris and Tommy Searle.
Gibbs was given the ride at the US GP at Glen Helen as a reward for giving the national distributor its first Aussie Premier class title win since 2002, as the MX Nationals drew to a close at Coolum in Queensland a little over a fortnight ago.
Kirk Gibbs – “I definitely wasn’t 100% today, the crash on Wednesday put a dampener on things, it rattled my head pretty good and my body was a bit banged up coming in. We struggled a bit for bike setup on Saturday as well so we were behind the eight ball a little bit, but we didn’t do too bad, all things considered. I felt like I was riding really well in the first moto, and I was mixing it up with some good guys, but then I had a crash and hurt the shoulder that I injured late in the MX Nationals so the second was a big struggle. This event was a massive eye-opener for me and I can’t thank KTM enough in making it happen. I felt like if we could have put two solid motos together we could have been around the top 10. It’d be great to come over and compete against the best riders more often, and this really gives me a little bit more motivation to go home and take it to another level and be another step ahead of the competitors back home.”
Rob Twyerould, KTM Motocross Racing Team Manager – “All things considered it was an okay result and a great experience. On Wednesday Kirk had a really big crash. He went over the bars – it was really nasty. He rang his bell pretty hard and spent a couple of days at Dr G’s – he is the guy that works on all the top guys over here, and he did an amazing job and got him prepared for the weekend. In Saturday’s qualifying race we struggled a little bit yesterday with bike setup because the bike is a little bit different here, so for today, we changed the gearing initially for the warmup and then the mapping because of the heat and we got big improvements for him.
“The first race was fantastic, he was right in there amongst it with Bobryshev and a lot of the top ten guys and he looked really comfortable. He got a little bit excited though, when he caught Searle and was going for the pass on him, and he crashed and winded himself. He lost so much time that he felt it was smarter to come in and rest up for the second moto.
“In the second he didn’t get out the gate as well, but he was challenging the other Aussies in the field and having a good dice with Ferris in around 15th. He got past him and was looking ahead but had a silly little fall when he just got cross-rutted, and made a couple of other mistakes, and then it just became a matter of surviving the heat, because a lot of guys DNFed from it.
“From our perspective it was good to get a look at how the teams operate over here. We got to see through KTM USA factory team, met the Troy Lee guys, the BTO guys have been fantastic, it’s been really good to see the technology they are using. We learned a lot and probably realised that we are on par with anywhere in the world, our bike at home is very, very good.”
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 35:54.457; 2. Cooper Webb (USA, Yamaha), +0:00.724; 3. Josh Grant (USA, Kawasaki), +0:23.369; 4. Jason Anderson (USA, Husqvarna), +0:34.642; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:38.012; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:39.495; 7. Dean Wilson (GBR, KTM), +0:41.977; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:48.001; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:55.692; 10. Marvin Musquin (FRA, KTM), +0:58.982
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Josh Grant (USA, Kawasaki), 36:17.374; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:12.621; 3. Cooper Webb (USA, Yamaha), +0:17.132; 4. Dean Wilson (GBR, KTM), +0:18.260; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:45.661; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:51.367; 7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:57.887; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +1:03.920; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, KTM), +1:07.744; 10. Davi Millsaps (USA, KTM), +1:11.790
MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 47 points; 2. Josh Grant (USA, KAW), 45 p.; 3. Cooper Webb (USA, YAM), 42 p.; 4. Dean Wilson (GBR, KTM), 32 p.; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 30 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 28 p.; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 26 p.; 8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 23 p.; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, KTM), 20 p.; 10. Jason Anderson (USA, HUS), 18 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 735 points; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 592 p.; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 567 p.; 4. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 481 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 449 p.; 6. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 442 p.; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 432 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 423 p.; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 354 p.; 10. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 331 p.
MXGP Manufacturer: 1. Yamaha, 743 points; 2. KTM, 706 p.; 3. Suzuki, 678 p.; 4. Honda, 678 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 630 p.; 6. Kawasaki, 439 p.; 7. TM, 139 p.
Americans dominate the MX2 podium on home turf but Guillod, Gajser, Anstie and Seewer card good results
The Californian sun shone on Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Red Bull KTM’s Jessy Nelson today as he dealt to everyone racing the Monster Energy MX2 grand prix of the USA with an impressive double moto win to claim his first ever Grand Prix victory. As an award for the dominance of his home Grand Prix, the American was gifted the Marty Moates Cup which is a symbolic prize that officially dubs him a top American rider.
The day couldn’t get much better for the team at Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Red Bull KTM as Shane McElrath, yesterday’s top qualifier, put in two more blistering fast rides for a second and a third place finish for second overall.
Third place this weekend went to Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube’s Valentin Guillod who used that same aggression and speed we started to expect from after his Grand Prix wins in Spain and Great Britain earlier in the year to bounce back from a mediocre start in race one for fifth, and an impressive third in race two. A teary eyed Guillod expressed how proud he is of what he has achieved this year even though he has faced a fair bit of adversity over the few rounds leading up to the grand finale which took place today. Nevertheless, the Swiss rider achieved what he wanted to this weekend with his podium finish and will make the leap to MXGP next year with a fourth place finish in the FIM Motocross MX2 World Championship on his resume.
It was one of the hardest fought MX2 world titles ever, but there was no one more deserving of the 2015 FIM Motocross MX2 World Championship gold plate than Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser. Although it wasn’t the easiest of seasons with the new world champion saying “this season was tough, there were many ups and downs, it started so bad” the Slovenian took home fourth today, which was enough for him to wrap up the ultimate prize.
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie also had a bit of a rough day but did enough to round out the top five and go home as the world number three.
Meanwhile Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass had his wings clipped after literally trying to reach for the stars last weekend in Mexico. The Latvian was only ninth overall today but nonetheless he has had an outstanding season, one that exceeded all expectation and although being the world champion would have been the cherry on the pie, going home as the vice FIM Motocross MX2 World Champion is an achievement he can be proud of.
As for the duo also representing the Stars and Stripes Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Chris Allredge and Thomas Covington had their ups and downs. For Covington, the most recent MX2 round winner, he was dirt sampling in both races while Allredge put in an impressive ride in race one for second but ended up in a heap with Covington in race two which saw them both finish outside of the top ten. Despite Alldrege’s bad luck in race two, he still managed to go away from his home grand prix with sixth overall.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Jessy Nelson (USA, KTM), 36:33.129; 2. Chris Alldredge (USA, Kawasaki), +0:12.857; 3. Shane McElrath (USA, KTM), +0:18.589; 4. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:21.210; 5. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:21.307; 6. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:34.359; 7. Harri Kullas (FIN, Husqvarna), +0:38.327; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:39.762; 9. Julien Lieber (BEL, Yamaha), +0:50.881; 10. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:54.438
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Jessy Nelson (USA, KTM), 36:37.196; 2. Shane McElrath (USA, KTM), +0:05.211; 3. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:32.327; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:36.227; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:40.646; 6. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:50.515; 7. Harri Kullas (FIN, Husqvarna), +0:52.303; 8. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:06.400; 9. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:09.669; 10. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, KTM), +1:51.141
MX2 Overall Top Ten: 1. Jessy Nelson (USA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Shane McElrath (USA, KTM), 42 p.; 3. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 36 p.; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 33 p.; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, KAW), 31 p.; 6. Chris Alldredge (USA, KAW), 30 p.; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 29 p.; 8. Harri Kullas (FIN, HUS), 28 p.; 9. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 26 p.; 10. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 20 p.
MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 589 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 564 p.; 3. Max Anstie (GBR, KAW), 537 p.; 4. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 511 p.; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 496 p.; 6. Julien Lieber (BEL, YAM), 430 p.; 7. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 423 p.; 8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KAW), 393 p.; 9. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 376 p.; 10. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 324 p.
MX2 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 779 points; 2. Kawasaki, 755 p.; 3. Yamaha, 645 p.; 4. Honda, 630 p.; 5. Suzuki, 497 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 444 p.; 7. TM, 113 p.