Fresh off of his first podium finish in 2018, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre has high hopes of keeping his YZ450FM on the box at the tenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, that is set to take place on his home soil in Saint Jean d’Angely, France, this weekend. Teammate, Jeremy Van Horebeek goes into the French Grand Prix hoping to turn his season around with a top-five finish.
Success comes to those who simply refuse to give up. Romain Febvre is one of those riders with the heart of a true champion. The twenty-six-year-old is still carrying some hefty injuries from his crashes at the MXGP rounds of Latvia and Germany, where he did damage to the ligaments in his arm and ankle. Despite walking with a serious limp, he remarkably took his YZ450FM to a podium finish at the MXGP of Great Britain.
In 2015, the Frenchman also stood on the third step of the podium at the British Grand Prix before going to France where he took his first ever Grand Prix victory inside the premier class. That result spurred on a run of race wins. In that year he accumulated a total of fifteen race victories and eight Grand Prix wins, and was crowned World Champion.
Febvre moved up into fourth place in the MXGP Championship Standings last weekend, and now trails Clement Desalle by 23-points. He hopes to put in another stunning ride for the abundance of French fans that will come out to support him.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek will be out for redemption following a crash on the opening lap of the final race at Matterley Basin in England. The Belgian was unhurt in the incident but was already suffering from fatigue as a result of being unwell over the days leading in. Going into the MXGP of France, he will have had a further five days rest and should be fit to race on Sunday.
Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer is hot on the heels of Van Horebeek in the championship chase. The Swiss rider, and best-placed rookie, is currently ninth place, only 9-points shy of Van Horebeek. As a rider that runs the pace of the top-five but is yet to finish inside, Seewer remains the dark horse this season but hopes to shine a light on what he is capable of in Saint Jean d’Angely this weekend, a venue that he has been looking forward to racing at all year long.
With the weather forecast looking grim, Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Shaun Simpson is excited for what the French GP will entail. The Scot is one of the most technically gifted riders on the line and will appreciate a dumping of water on the track as it tends to slow the pace and makes the circuit more challenging. Regardless of the conditions, the ultimate goal this weekend is to stay safe and to post two consistent results.
In MX2, Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Ben Watson is closing in on third place in the Championship Classification. The Briton, who has been a consistent podium threat, is now only 9-points behind Thomas Kjer-Olsen. Meanwhile, fellow Kemea Yamaha YZ250F riders Jago Geerts and Anthony Rodriguez have their sights set on the top-ten.
Joining the premier classes this weekend, the ASTES4-TESAR Yamaha Official EMX250 team will be in attendance for the sixth round of the EMX250 championship where Roan van de Moosdijk and Nicholas Lapucci will be eager to bounce-back from the disappointment of last weekend.
The MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 team are gearing up for their home Grand Prix which will mark the fifth round of the EMX125 Championship where their own French star is currently second place in classification. It will be a massive weekend for the French based team as they line up for the first time this season with all three riders. Rick Elzinga broke both of his arms in the pre-season, but has made a full recovery and will join Benistant and Jörgen-Matthias Talviku on the gate inside the EMX125 class in Saint Jean d’Angely.
St. Jean d’Angely is situated around one hour north of Bordeaux on the west coast of France. It first made its first appearance on the Motocross Grand Prix calendar back in 1984 and has been a common location for the MXGP of France ever since.
4th MXGP Championship Standings, 291-points
“I expect to have a good race in France. Like we saw in England, I was able to ride with my ankle injury and it was not so bad. I am happy with the way I rode and I hope that in France it will be even better. On Monday my ankle was really stiff. Going to Saint Jean d’Angely, I really like the track and it is always a really special feeling to ride well in front of my home crowd. I hope to stand on the podium again, it will mean a lot to me, but I have seen that the weather may not be so good, and in that case we have to see what happens.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek
8th MXGP Championship Standings, 207-points
“I had a pretty big crash in the last race at Matterley Basin last weekend, but luckily I was okay. I feel okay, I am just frustrated with my luck at the moment. I will keep fighting, keep training and keep pushing until I am finishing races up front and back where I belong.”
9th MXGP Championship Standings, 198-points
“I’m really looking forward to racing on this track. I really hope the conditions will be okay because it’s one of my favourite tracks on the calendar. I love the hills, I love the general flow of it, the jumps, everything. I have always done really well there, I only have good memories, and I am looking forward to keep building and to move up the charts in the overall results.”
17th MXGP Championship Standings, 86-points
“After quite a successful return last weekend in Matterley, in terms of getting through without any injuries or making any of the injuries I have now worse, that was the aim of the game. I was out riding again yesterday, and I will ride again today, and then the last couple days of the week will be a bit more relaxed ahead of the weekend. It looks like the weather is working in my favour. The rain should make the track a bit slower and more technical. It should be good. Saint Jean is a track I like, I have had good results there in the past and the club is always quite on it with track preparation and I think that is key. As far as expectation goes, I am just going to go in with the same goals as last weekend. Just get through with two starts and two solid results before going on to Ottobiano in Italy, a track that will suit my style a little bit more.”
Words and pic: Yamaha