A solid start to the MXGP season for Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha

The MXGP World Championship season finally made it’s return as the 2021 season kicked off at Russia and the Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha team were eager to get the season off to a good start with their three riders.

The Orlyonok circuit presented a challenging slick hard pack terrain for the first MXGP round of the year but all three riders qualified inside the top fifteen and all looked comfortable heading into the races.

When the gate dropped for the first moto of the year, Calvin Vlaanderen was a rocket out of the gate as he was inside the top five. However, he struggled with some arm pump which can happen at the opening round of the year so he dropped back but still came home a solid twelfth.

Brent van Doninck didn’t get the best of starts but was able cut to the inside around the first corner to position himself just outside the top ten. The Belgian quickly found his groove and started making passes. He crossed the line in a very impressive seventh in a stacked field and was closing down Jeremy Seewer!

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It’s important to get a good start in MXGP and unfortunately, Kevin Strijbos was outside the top twenty after the official first lap but he made some passes and finished a respectful sixteenth.

In the second moto the start didn’t go well for all three riders as they got caught up around the first corner which is never ideal. Van Doninck was coming through the pack the best and progressed up to thirteenth until a crash with four laps to go demoted him down to seventeenth in what could have been a top ten overall result but overall it was a good start to the season for the Belgian.

Strijbos stepped up his pace in the second moto and came from virtually last all the way to twelfth in a deep field so he certainly has the pace to run in the top ten.

It was another solid moto for Vlaanderen after charging through to fifteenth but similar to his team mates he has the speed for much more if he can avoid drama on the opening lap.

The team will now prepare for the second round of the series taking place at Matterley Basin on the 27th of June.

Brent van Doninck (13th overall): In the first moto I didn’t get a great start but I was able to cut to the inside for the first corner and came out pretty good just outside the top ten. I had a good rhythm going on from the beginning and I moved up to seventh. I was able to stay there the whole race so I was really happy with that. In the second moto I had a good jump out of the gate and had a good start but a few guys went down and I also did. I started nearly dead last and I was moving up pretty good, I got up to thirteenth but four laps from the end I got stuck behind some riders. Kevin was riding behind me and he tried to make a pass, he was on the inside and it was a stupid mistake from myself. I made a mistake and went down which dropped me back to seventeenth, I was a little bit disappointed with that because if I could have stayed thirteenth I’d have been in the top ten overall but it’s a great start to the season. I feel really good on the bike so let’s keep the ball rolling.

Calvin Vlaanderen: (14th overall): It was good to get the first GP done and dusted and overall it wasn’t too bad. I had a good feeling in practice and was happy with my lap. I got a great start in the first race and immediately got bad arm pump. It was tough to ride because I couldn’t hold the handlebar properly and didn’t want to take risks with this. In the second moto I was caught up the start crash but riding felt better and I had good speed. Look forward to working on some things the next two weeks to be better at Matterley Basin.

Kevin Strijbos (15th overall): After practice I felt pretty good on the track but in the first moto I got a bad start. The bike was quite aggressive on the mesh and I don’t know why but I put my head down to charge through the field. I ended up sixteenth, it was so difficult to pass because we all had a similar speed. If you were 2-3 seconds faster like Gajser in the second moto then it’s much easier to pass. I had a good feeling and could push the whole moto, sixteenth isn’t where I want to be – the speed didn’t show in the result. In the second moto I changed sprocket and it was a little bit better off the start but still not great, I tangled up a little bit with Olsen so I had to back off, I was dead last again so it’s always going to be a difficult moto. I ended up coming through to twelfth which is okay because the field is stacked and I’ve been out from the GP’s for a long time. In the second moto my back was hurting me a bit, it wasn’t too bad but not 100% either. Overall to be fifteenth is quite good and the speed is definitely there to be in the top ten from all three riders from the team. There’s some more things to work on bike wise but we will see for England, hopefully we can improve.

Words: Press Release

Pic: Shot by Bavo