Vlaanderen strong at Loket as Kullas makes Gebben van Venrooy Yamaha debut

The Gebben van Venrooy Yamaha team travelled to Czech Republic for the thirteenth round of the MXGP World Championship at the old-school track of Loket. The circuit presented a slick, hard pack and very tricky conditions with a dry racetrack.

The team were happy to have two MXGP riders behind the starting gate again as Harri Kullas joined the team last week and joined Calvin Vlaanderen under the awning. 

Taking a good start in the first moto, Vlaanderen was in a solid seventh on the opening lap and that’s exactly where he finished showing some good pace to earn a good result. Being away from the GP scene for a while, it was never going to be easy for Kullas and especially at a very unique track, but he rode well to come outside the top twenty-five to finish twentieth and secure a championship point. 

In race two, Vlaanderen didn’t get as good as start as the first moto outside the top ten. However, he was riding with even more flow and speed than the first moto and attacked the riders ahead of him. After making a number of passes he finished an impressive sixth to earn sixth overall on the day. Kullas was twenty fifth after the first official lap and moved forward but this time couldn’t get in the points in twenty-first. 

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All in all, it was a good day for the team with a good result for Vlaanderen and Kullas getting his feet wet with MXGP racing once again. The team will head to Lommel this weekend which is regarded as the toughest track on the calendar. 

Calvin Vlaanderen (6th overall): Overall I am happy with the weekend. I ended up with two consistent races but honestly, I didn’t have such a good feeling on Saturday with the track. I was struggling with arm pump and the bike setup. For the first race I wasn’t racing like myself because of arm pump again so I wasn’t free on the bike. I felt a lot better in the second race and made a number of passes, so I am happy with the weekend. Now I am looking forward to Lommel for the next one. 

Harri Kullas (25th overall): It’s really great to be back in the GP paddock racing with the fast guys. The first race is done now at quite a difficult track for me. I was hoping for better but in the end, I am happy now because we did not get much time to try the bike. The team were really supportive and we did our best at the training days. We came to the race as ready as we could and I felt confident but the track was really bumpy and slippery. I struggled a little bit on Saturday, I guess to be back at a GP, the level is high and the intensity is just unreal. We have like 20-25 guys there that are the same speed more or less and the top ten are really fast. I try to take the positives and Sunday went much better, I felt way more comfortable and the races I tried to have flow but the intensity is very high and the level is good. At least the first race is done and it was kind of a testing weekend for us to try a few things and learn the team and GP life again. I’ve been away many years now and to ride two days with that intensity is not easy. What I struggled with on Saturday is that the track was so open with lots of lines compared to what I’ve raced the last four years in England. In England you have one main line pretty much and then you just try to go faster each lap. Here you can change lines at so many corners, it is different so you need to get used to that. We got our first point in the first race and it was a pity in the second race I could not come back to 19-20, they weren’t far but it is what it is. I am really thankful for the team, they were so supportive over the weekend. We will continue to work and be ready for Lommel. That track should be easier for me with sand and more traction. 

Words: Press Release