Who impressed: EMX125 at the MXGP of Europe!
Rene Hofer: The Austrian had two questions to answer at the first round of the EMX125 series. Would his starts be improved from last year and if he could handle the pressure of being a heavy title favourite? Hofer had all the answers at Valkenswaard, he got two holeshots which you didn’t think would have been possible last year! Hofer has clearly been putting in the work to his starts which is good to see.
From the first lap in both the moto’s he never looked back from lap one and had everything under total control at the front. Hofer is a smart and smooth rider – he made everything look easy! The Factory KTM rider could have a very bright future ahead of him if he continues to develop and work hard.
Emil Weckman: The 2017 season didn’t go great for the Finnish talent as he only picked up thirty-one points during the course of the season. However, it looks like he’s had a very productive winter. In the first moto at the end of the first lap, Weckman was sitting in a strong fifth position. However, he put on a charge and moved his way into second by the end of the moto which was a great ride – he even set the quickest lap of the race to show speed wasn’t an issue.
The second moto didn’t go according to plan though as he took a crash on the first lap which left him down outside the top twenty. The KTM Diga Junior Racing rider charged his way through the pack as he got back to eighth which meant he ended up a fourth overall. Weckman was happy with his weekend but wants a win! “The speed of my riding was really good. I know that I have what it takes to win in the sand. With a better start and no crashes of course! Before the race my goal was to get top-3 here so we came very close. The bike is working well and my fitness is okay too.”
Filip Olsson: The young Swede is another rider that’s looked to have a good winter behind him. Olsson didn’t get an amazing start in the first moto as he was down in ninth at the end of the first lap. However, he showed good speed and ended up fourth at the end of the moto which was a good ride.
In the second moto, Olsson grabbed himself a much better start in the second moto as he was second in behind Hofer and he was able to follow the Austrian for a few laps. The question though would be if Olsson could stay second and that’s exactly what he done which was impressive. It meant the Swede ended up second overall which is his best ride in the EMX125 class and his first ever podium, he will be hoping for plenty more during the course of the season.
Mario Lucas Sanz: Last year Lucas Sanz clinched the Spanish 125cc title and rode two EMX races but he picked up an injury which meant he couldn’t do anymore rounds. He’s racing for a new team in the paddock, F4E Racing and it was a great round for both as they got on the box with a third overall which is always a great sign for a new team.
A great start in the first moto really helped as he was second on the first lap but only Weckman could manage to pass him. In the second moto he came home a solid sixth to secure the final spot on the podium, a great start to the season which they will hope to build on.
Thibault Benistant: The MJC Yamaha rider comes into the season as one the title favourites but being French, sand isn’t his favourite conditions. However, Benistant showed good speed this weekend but his starts badly let him down. He was buried outside the top fifteen in the first moto but he rode really well to come back to fifth.
The French rider didn’t ride quite as well in the second moto but he came back to seventh which meant he ended up fifth overall. You can’t win the championship at the first round but you can certainly lose it, a fifth overall is a solid result and the MJC Yamaha rider is still in contention.
Other two riders that deserve shout outs are Czech rider, Petr Polak who put in a very good ride in the second moto for third. Problems in the first moto meant he only ended up fourteenth but seventh overall is a solid result and he’ll hope to build on it. F4E Racing’s Kjell Verbruggen was riding an 85cc last year but he already looks comfortable on the 125cc. Unfortunately, he DNF’d the first moto but he bounced back in the second moto for a strong fifth position. Verbruggen could be one to watch moving forward and gets even more comfortable to his new machinery.