Romain Febvre of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team earnt a hard-fought fourth overall in the thirteenth round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Lommel in Belgium.
An incident halfway round the opening lap negated a top-four start for the Frenchman in the first moto but he responded decisively to advance from seventeenth to thirteenth already by the end of the first full lap. Advancing one position each lap until he reached eighth he then faced a long chase to catch the other leaderboard men but displayed admirable determination to make two more passes in the last two laps to finish a gritty sixth. Quickly fifth in race two after a series of forceful moves on the opening lap he once more found a solid rhythm to relentlessly chase down the riders ahead of him before making further decisive passes to take over second place two laps from the close. Frustratingly a single point shy of the overall podium on the day he has now advanced to fifth in the points standings despite missing the first two rounds of the series.
Clement Desalle, who had announced earlier this week his intention to retire from racing at the end of the season, showed his continued commitment to the team as he twice cut his way through the pack after first lap incidents with other riders had initially left him twenty-third and twentieth in the two motos. He scythed his way through to eleventh at the chequered flag in race one and thirteenth in race two for twelfth overall on the day and was rewarded with a strong consolidation of his eighth place in the series rankings.
Romain Febvre: “It was a good GP with a great second moto! My start was good and as always there was confusion in the first corner but I made my way through and rode a good opening lap. I found a good rhythm and came back to second; I was very happy with that! The first moto was not so good. I was fourth at the start but during the first lap I made a mistake in a corner and crashed; that’s never good as everyone is so close together during the first laps of a race and you lose so many places. I was seventeenth and came back to sixth, which is not so bad, but that cost me the podium. I was happy with my speed and my physical shape; the track was difficult but I found a good feeling and overall it was a good day. Now my goal is to win a GP here in Lommel; I have two more opportunities on Wednesday and Sunday!”
Clement Desalle: “ It was a frustrating day for me; I was expecting to have more fun on the track here in Lommel and wanted better results in my national GP. At the start of the first race a rider crashed in front of me and I had no place to go; I crashed too and then came back to eleventh which was not so bad. I was involved in another crash at the start of the second race; I came back thirteenth but the track was getting really rough. Let’s hope that the next two GPs here will be better for me!"
The team remains in Belgium for another week to contest two further rounds of the world championship at Lommel on Wednesday and next Sunday.