Conrad Mewse: The Brit was absolutely flying in the first moto coming from mid-pack up to fourth right behind Vialle, but then with two corners to go Mewse was nursing a chugging KTM home, desperately coaxing it through the final sweeping turn as two riders sped past before barely making it up the final jump to to take sixth, just a quarter of a wheel ahead of Davy Pootjes.
It meant his podium shot was drastically reduced and even more so after a terrible start and then a small crash in race two, but Mewse kept his head down and charged back into the points before yet another mechanical ruled him out of any points at all. Mewse was distraught and had to be consoled in pitlane before trudging back to the paddock.
But team boss Roger Magee said of Mewse in that first moto, “ (he) showed his true potential at World level with perhaps his best ever ride for the Team using very inventive, fast lines.”
While Mewse offered, “Obviously this has been a very disappointing weekend for me, but it was out of my hands. I proved that I had the speed and when things were going well they were going really well. But we had a couple of bike issues which cost me big time. The team has done a fantastic job with what we have and I’m going to keep fighting and pushing to finish where we derive to be.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen: The Dane looks like a new rider in 2019. Always quick and consistent, but Olsen never quite had the edge to his riding to make things happen when he needed to.
Now he appears to have that edge, he has added intensity to his racing over the winter and is making passes quickly right when he needs too. Olsen showed no sign of nerves at Matterley even though he was the favourite coming in and controlled both motos even when Jacobi put the pressure on at the end of moto one.
The Dane has to be taken seriously now as a title contender and Prado knows he is going to have a fight on his hands to defend his world championship.
Tom Vialle: What a start to the season Vialle has had! The technical and fearless Frenchman holeshot both motos and held his pace well on a tough, technical track to take his first ever podium at Grand Prix level in only his second attempt!
Vialle, who only raced outside of a France for the first time last year when he raced EMX2, has shown astounding progress in the last 18 months and is now on the level his dad was back in the 90s, getting on the podium and challenging for GP wins!
Joel Smets says that while Vialle has impressive technique it’s his mental strength that impresses him the most. “He knows he’s working hard, he knows where he wants to end up finally but he knows it’s a long road and the road to success is always under construction and that’s why he is not influenced by what is happening around him. He is doing his thing, he has a nice structure around him with his parents and the team and myself. He trusts in that and that makes him feel so relaxed, that’s why he stays so calm and handles the pressure so well. That impresses me more than the riding.”
Henri Jacobi: The F&H Kawasaki man was the man to watch all weekend with his aggressive style and inventive lines! Jacobi ain’t scared of putting a wheel in and rattled Olsen’s cage in the qualifier prompting Olsen to return the favours by cutting across the front wheel of the Kawasaki man as revenge.
Jacobi credits Marc De Reeuver for his coaching skills and ability to show him the flowing lines that allowed him to put a beautiful pass on Vialle to claim second overall. It looks like Jacobi is going be he at the front all year long in 2019.