Amidst the explosion of French cheers, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jeremy Van Horebeek and Romain Febvre were fifth and sixth, respectively, at the ninth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Ernée, France.
Febvre and Van Horebeek have their say on French GP!
Ernée is a typical French circuit, it embodies plenty of elevation and has a rock hard clay base. The steep hills made for massive braking bumps going into the turns and deep ruts going out, especially with light showers making the dirt damper than usual. These elements made the entry, execution and exit of corners more difficult and combined with high heat and humidity, mistakes were costly.
In the opening race Jeremy Van Horebeek was fired up right from gate-drop. The Belgian had a top-three start and wasted no-time in charging past the current championship leader Antonio Cairoli. He pulled an immediate gap and looked solid for second place but ended up handing the spot back to Cairoli when he folded the front with two-laps to go. Frustrated with the error, he still came home in a meritable third.
After working hard to find a race winning set-up, the Romain Febvre of old – the same one that won the 2015 world championship – appeared to be back this weekend and his second place finish in the Qualifying Race was a solid indication. Urged on by the crowd, the Frenchman had his work cut out in Race 1 after he crashed in turn three. He was dead-last but he didn’t let that faze him as he bounced back for a mind-blowing seventh place.
The final race of the day was easily one of the most incredible races of the season. Both Febvre and Van Horebeek had to distinguish their pedigree after bad starts and small mistakes made the race slightly more demanding than it should have been. Van Horebeek put in a hard charge in the first half of the race and went from twelfth to fourth before being dropped back to fifth by his teammate Febvre, and eventually crossed the line in sixth.
Another mistake was detrimental to Febvre’s overall performance. A small crash in front of pit-lane zapped the Frenchman’s chances of a podium finish. Nevertheless, the way he took no prisoners on his way to fourth in the race was exciting to watch, and left him hopeful of a podium at the next round of the FIM Motocross World Championship which will take place in Orlyonok, Russia on the weekend of June 11th.
Jeremy Van Horebeek
5th GP Overall, 5th MXGP Championship Standings
“It was a pretty good weekend, I used a lot of energy yesterday. I got a good start in the first race and I was riding good but I made mistake at the end of the race and it cost me a lot of energy again. In the second race, I had a really bad start and I got into fourth really fast, which was really good, but I used too much energy and I was really tired. I am not going to make any excuses, I was done. That’s it.”
6th GP Overall, 8th MXGP Championship Standings
“It started really good on Saturday with second place in the Qualifying Race. I made a mistake in both races. In the first race I crashed on the first lap and had to use a lot of energy. I came back to seventh, the speed was good but I was a little bit too slow to make some of the passes. In the second moto I started better and then I crashed in front of pit-lane and lost some positions. I then had to come back, and I got back to fourth, close to third, but like I said, I used a lot of energy when I had to come back from the crashes and it was really hot today.”