The full Suzuki World MX2 squad battled hard on what was an extremely tricky Kegums track at the MXGP of Latvia, with their top 10 results, the least their efforts deserved.
For Jeremy Seewer, a last lap pass for second place on title rival Pauls Jonass really looked like changing the momentum of the MX2 championship but then some unfortunate incidents in race two robbed him of the chance to push home that advantage even more. Bas Vaessen returned from his collarbone injury and put in two solid races, that could have been even better were it not for his lack of bike time over the last six weeks. Hunter Lawrence also showed great speed to come through the field in both motos but was one of the riders caught out by this track, dropping him down the field after a nasty crash on the big step-down jump.
Finally in the EMX250 class, Zach Pichon didn’t get an opportunity to improve upon Saturday’s first moto seventh place as he was knocked to the ground in the first corner of the second race, breaking his collarbone in the process. Overall it was a tough day for the RM-Z250 riders but one which they will no doubt overcome in the next rounds of their respective championships.
“The first race was really positive,” said Seewer, “I got a good start, was pushing hard and was coming through into the podium spots. However before I could get there I made a small mistake and lost four or five seconds. I soon got back up to Pauls Jonass but he was riding smart, blocking the lines and making it really difficult for me. I kept pushing though and on the last lap I was able to make it happen, which was a really nice confidence booster. At that stage I was really looking forward to the second moto as I knew on board my RM-Z250 I could do even better than second place, possibly winning the overall.
“Second race I had another really good start but while I was sliding into the first corner I just grabbed a little bit too much throttle and slid out. If you’re not on the limit there it is easy to lose a lot of spots so you have to push it. I was still really confident to get through the pack and make that podium happen but then coming through, one guy decided to cut right across the track and I hit his rear wheel so hard and went over the bars. Luckily I’m not hurt but then one guy hit my bike and that damaged the whole sub-frame. I tried to continue for a few laps and even with the bike like this I was able to make my way through the field but then the exhaust broke off so I had to pull off the track. It’s so frustrating to watch a race unfold in front of your eyes but I’m looking past this already as I can’t change it. We are definitely not giving up and I’m excited for the next round to get back out front.”
For Vaessen, there weren’t too many expectations on this race due to his injury-recovery but his performance was a good step forward and a positive sign for future races when he’ll be in much better shape on the bike. “In the first race I got an amazing start on my RM-Z250 and for a long time I was in seventh position. Then I made a small crash which broke up my rhythm and I was just so tired those last few laps due to six weeks not riding that I dropped back to 14th. The second moto was good also. I had another decent start, battling with some riders and despite another small crash, I was able to catch back up to the group in front and I felt like I finished the race strong, which is a nice thing to have on my comeback ride.”
The third member of the Suzuki World MX2 team was Lawrence who once again put in a lot of passes during his two motos, which unfortunately his end results don’t reflect. “I made it as difficult as possible for myself by starting from around 30th position but then made my way up to 10th so I was really happy with how I rode. I think I probably would have got the award for most passes in that race for sure, so my speed and ability on the track were really good. Second moto I had a bit of a better start and was again clicking off the positions, moving up inside the top 20 again but I slid out with another rider and lost some time. I got back up again, continued to make some more passes but on the big step-down I cross-rutted which sent me over the bars. It was a pretty big crash but I picked the bike back up and I felt fine after a couple of laps but it’s a disappointment to finish that way after showing so much speed during the races. Thankfully though I live to fight another day so we’ll keep working and won’t ever give up.”
Unfortunately Pichon’s day was cut short after a first turn pile-up left him in a lot of pain and although the French youngster battled on for a couple of laps, eventually he had to pull off and get the injury checked out. He spoke about his day after visiting the on-track medical team where unfortunately he is now preparing for four to six weeks of recovery time: “I didn’t get a great start in the second race, and in the first turn someone from the inside cut in front of me and he hit my front wheel and I crashed. I got back on and rode another four laps but the pain was too much to continue. I pulled off the track and went to get an x-ray and the doctor told me I had broken my collarbone. Now we go home and we will see if I need to get an operation or not. I just hope I can back on the bike quickly.”
General Manager Stefan Everts gave his thoughts about a day that started off so positively: “Jeremy came here with a good feeling and in the first moto he came back from a small mistake to get second place on the last lap and he really showed fantastic riding. He turned around a difficult moment in that race and showed the motivation and the passion is there. He also showed that the speed is there and the RM-Z250 setup is there. Then in the second moto, a small mistake cost him in that first turn and then when he was coming through the field a rider caused him to crash and another rider broke his sub-frame, so there was nothing he could do. A big disappointment considering how good he’s riding and how much confidence he’s had with his speed but there is still a long way to go in the championship.”
The Suzuki World MX2 team now have a weekend off to regroup, before the series begins again on May 21st in Teutschenthal, Germany where conditions will different from these last two sand rounds.