Febvre crashed in qualifying on Saturday in slick mud after a flash summer thunderstorm, and injured his left elbow. Team and race medical staff examined the 2015 FIM Motocross World Champion and found no broken bones or torn muscle, and then worked on him Saturday night to ice the swelling and massage the pain.
On Sunday Febvre made both starts after more treatment, and raced with surprising aggression but very little flamboyance under a sunny Spanish sky. In steady progression the Frenchman passed first Jordi Tixier of France and then Spanish rider Jose Butron before backing off Swiss rider Valentin Guillod in the final 10 minutes to finish ninth in race one. In the second race Febvre was stronger and made up for a poor gate pick of 30 to cross the start line fifth before going on to finish the late race in fourth for sixth overall.
Van Horebeek also consulted with race medical staff after a painful qualifying race on Saturday, and found a lingering injury from his big crash in Germany earlier this month. Racing both motos on Sunday with a carbon fiber brace on his left wrist, the Belgian rider also duelled with Butron in race one on a track so intense, so fast and so physical that time gaps were measured in the hundreds of seconds from start to finish. Van Horebeek finished the MXGP of Spain seventh overall, crossing the line eighth and seventh in the two motos with nearly no change of position after the first laps of each race.
Guillod, who won last year in Talavera de la Reina during his final season of MX2, showed his continuing growth as an MXGP rider, chasing and passing Febvre in the first moto and then just clipping Van Horebeek at the finish of the early race. In the second moto Guillod made a very good start but crashed late in the race. On Sunday the Swiss rider finished in the top 10 for the third time in 2016.
In the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship rankings Febvre remains in second place behind Tim Gajser of Slovenia, slightly increasing his gap to the leader to 24 points. Van Horebeek moved up to sixth overall, 19 points behind Evgeny Bobryshev of Russia, and Guillod remains in ninth, 24 points from Kevin Strijbos of Belgium
“Yesterday I didn’t know if I could ride, so today was almost like a victory. I had two good starts, and in the second moto I went from 30th to 5th.”
“For sure I lost a few points in the championship, but I was able to save much more, and that makes me very happy before we go back to France next week.”
Jeremy Van Horebeek:
“It’s really difficult here, because everybody is going fast and at this level you have to be 100 percent. I’m stoked with 27 points today, and I worked really hard for that.”
“I had a lot of pain today and it was really difficult. The medics here found a 2mm crack in my wrist from Teutschenthal, so we will go back to the doctors this week for a check and see what we can do before we go to France.”
“I’m really happy about my riding this weekend. I had the fastest lap in the first race, and I think I could have done even better. My start in the second moto was better, and I think that we are going in the right direction.”