Thailand: Who impressed in MXGP?
We take a look at the MXGP riders that impressed in Thailand during the second round of the MXGP Championship.
Romain Febvre: Anyone out there still think Romain only won the championship last year because of the injuries during 2015? If Romain had any doubters before the season he is already proving them wrong. In the first moto a nice battle formed between Febvre, Cairoli and Gajser but the Frenchman rode strong to win the moto.
After the moto, he could hardly talk to Lisa Leyland he was so exhausted from riding in the heat, it looked like he was done! I was worried how he would do in the second moto but he led from start to finish, that race win is a big statement for his competitors.
Romain now has the red plate with a six point advantage over Gajser and a massive twenty-eight points back to Cairoli heading into Valkenswaard. A good start to the season for Febvre, if he can stay fit it’s going to be tough beating him to the title!
Tim Gajser: What a class act Tim Gajser is! He proved that Qatar was no fluke by showing good speed and running at the front again. Gajser rode very smart in the first race, it looked like he was just watching Cairoli and Febvre before making an incredible move on the eight time world champion. However, he made a mistake shortly after as he started to push harder, he was smart and settled for third – he is looking at the bigger picture and thinking about the championship!
In the second moto he didn’t get the best of starts back in seventh but he stayed calm and didn’t panic. He ended up finishing fifth in the moto and described it as “solid”. The fact he called it solid shows he is starting to have expectations and gaining more confidence that he can run and beat the guys at the front of the class.
A second overall is another fantastic result for the Slovenian, the next test comes at Valkenswaard for the MX2 World Championship. If he ends up on the podium there he is a serious contender for the MXGP title in his rookie year!
Ben Townley: Townley didn’t have a great return to the MXGP World Championship in Qatar but he stepped up his game in Qatar. BT gained confidence from the qualification race win and knew he could run with the top guys on race day.
In the first moto he started in third before Gajser made a move. It looked like the front three might pull away from him but he stayed within touching distances of them. He did look like he was pushing hard to stay with them and that is why he probably crashed and DNF’ed the race but his speed is good!
BT was impressive in the second moto starting in fifth before passing Guillod, Nagl and Simpson to finish up in second. He was fresher than the other riders so that probably had something to do with it but his speed is improving, he looked like a different rider to the one we seen in Qatar. He seemed to gel with the rutty track quite well as it suited his style.
Jeremy Van Horebeek: This time last year JVH had a lot of pressure on his shoulders after finishing second in the MXGP championship in 2014. He put a lot of pressure on himself to win the title last year and he didn’t deal with it very well. However, he already looks to have started the 2016 season much, much better and back to his old self after a tough 2015 season.
Qatar and Thailand aren’t his types of tracks so to come away with a fifth and a third overall is very encouraging. The European tracks should suit his style more so it will be interesting to see if he can build on his good start to the season.
Article: Andy McKinstry